Insurance Fraud is a Violent Crime

A Murderer Guilty of Killing for Insurance Money Must Serve the Full Sentence 60 Year Sentence

Post 4738

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Ronald Epps, a prisoner in federal custody, filed a Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct his Sentence as well as a filing he called a Motion for Compassionate Release.

In Ronald Epps v. United States Of America, Nos. 11-CR-309-A, 12-CR-305-A, 19-CV-1021-A, United States District Court, W.D. New York (February 13, 2024) the USDC refused his request.


Epps was charged in a three-count Superseding Indictment with maintaining premises for the purpose of manufacturing and distributing narcotics, with possessing a .32 caliber revolver in furtherance of drug trafficking, and with possession while a previously convicted felon of the same firearm. In addition the narcotics and firearms charges arose after a search warrant was executed as part of the investigation of the murder of Ms. Moss by a gunshot to the back of her head. Epps was later charged with seven additional offenses, beginning with wire fraud for executing a scheme fraudulently to collect the proceeds of a life insurance policy on the life of Ms. Moss; with mail fraud for executing a fraudulent scheme to collect proceeds of a renter’s insurance policy covering the premises, after the premises had twice been damaged by intentionally set fires; and with five specific arson-related offenses in connection with those two fires.

A jury trial was conducted before the USDC and the jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts. Epps was sentenced to an aggregate term of 60 years in prison; the final judgment was entered on January 4, 2017. Epps, Pro se, timely filed a motion to vacate, set aside or correct sentence.


The trial evidence showed that Epps drove Ms. Moss to her job at a health-care facility on California Road in Orchard Park, New York, on August 27, 2009. After Ms. Moss’s body was found on the morning of August 28, 2009, police conducted a search of Epps’s residence at 21 Cascade Drive and found and seized the .32 caliber revolver underlying the two charged firearms offenses set forth in the Indictment. Evidence about Epps’s actions and the statements involving a so-called “bag of guns” tended to explain why the 9 mm firearm used to shoot Ms. Moss in the back of the head was not recovered by law enforcement when they searched Epps’s residence.


Defense counsel’s strategic decision to agree to the consolidation of the two indictments in hopes that it would influence the Court to grant her motion to sever and allow her to try at least one indictment free of any evidence regarding Epps’s possession of firearms was reasonable. Notwithstanding that such strategy was rendered unsuccessful by virtue of this Court’s decision to consolidate and not sever such outcome hardly renders defense counsel’s performance constitutionally ineffective.

With the direct appeal establishing the legal correctness of the Court’s evidentiary ruling, the Court further found that a single, apt analogy referenced by the Court- outside the presence of the jury-in conjunction with its ruling does not, based on Epps’s disapproval alone, constitute partiality. Judicial rulings alone almost never constitute a valid basis for a bias or partiality motion.


A court may not modify a term of imprisonment once it has been imposed except pursuant to statute. Epps failed to establish-as he must-that extraordinary and compelling reasons warrant reduction of his sentence. Finally, Epps has failed to establish-as he must-that the applicable sentencing factors under §3553(a) do not, on balance, cut against any reduction. Based on those deficiencies, his motion for compassionate release was denied.


I have been told by prosecutors over the last 55 years that they don’t want to prosecute insurance fraud because they need the time to prosecute violent criminals. Mr. Epps killed his girlfriend to collect insurance money while simultaneously setting fires to profit from his crimes. Two violent crimes, arson and murder, resulted in a sentence of 60 years only to waste the time of the court with a pro se motion to set aside the judgment because the judge was prejudiced against him, his lawyer was inadequate, and he needed to be released from prison. Fortunately for the public of the USA his ploys failed and he will stay in prison for the next 60 years because insurance fraud is either a violent crime or the reason for two violent crimes.

(c) 2024 Barry Zalma & ClaimSchool, Inc.

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About Barry Zalma

An insurance coverage and claims handling author, consultant and expert witness with more than 48 years of practical and court room experience.
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