Insurance fraud – not murder -- puts killer behind bars

A trio of law enforcement agencies were forced to work outside the box when a suspected murderer was set to avoid prosecution

A man in Upstate New York faces a minimum of 35 years in jail thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in conjunction with both local police.
The facts of the case are indeed complex but thanks to a $100,000 life insurance policy, U.S. federal prosecutors were able to do what local Erie County prosecutors could not – and that’s to get a jury to find Ronald Epps guilty of murder.
Sort of.
The federal court jury recently found Epps guilty of fraud, arson and weapons charges related to two separate events. The first involved Epps shooting his girlfriend, Angela Moss, in the back of the head in order to collect on the $100,000 insurance policy he’d recently (2009) been made the sole beneficiary of; the second involved burning down his apartment to collect on his renters’ insurance policy.
In 2012, three years after Epps’ alleged and heinous actions, a U.S. federal grand jury indicted him on the charges mentioned previously. In August he was found guilty on all 10 counts and faces a minimum 35 years in jail.
As part of the trail, federal prosecutors ultimately were able to prove that Epps conspired to and ultimately did murder his girlfriend in order to collect on the life insurance policy on his girlfriend’s life.
"We're obviously pleased for the family," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa M. Marangola. "They waited six years for justice for their daughter."
While federal prosecutors were more than happy to put the dangerous criminal behind bars, Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III clearly felt the evidence didn’t support murder charges because none have been filed to this day despite the damning evidence presented during the trial.
Much like the prosecution of Al Capone for tax evasion in the 1930s, the feds in this case took the evidence of fraud and used it to find another way to put Epps in jail.
"We had to prove murder plus motive,” said U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. “It's extremely unlikely Mr. Epps will ever see the light of day."