Crime Costs: 3 Sent to Prison for Stealing Social Security Benefits

September 14, 2022 Topic: Social Security Fraud Region: Americas Blog Brand: Politics Tags: Social Security FraudSocial SecurityCrimeJustice

Crime Costs: 3 Sent to Prison for Stealing Social Security Benefits

As is often the case, there has recently been news of several cases being brought against Americans for improperly receiving Social Security benefits.

In South Carolina this week, a sixty-one-year-old woman received more than a year in prison after she plead guilty to stealing more than $258,000 in government funds. The government alleged that the woman collected Social Security Retirement Insurance Benefits (RIB) meant for her grandmother over a long period of time, between 2001 and 2020. 

The woman, prosecutors said, “failed to notify the Social Security Administration of the death and continued to cash and deposit the RIB checks she received on her grandmother’s behalf.” She also, they said, failed to pay $22,840.10 in Medicare premiums, and was wrongly paid an additional $22,875 in Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

She received fifteen months imprisonment in addition to a three-year term of court-ordered supervision.

Another woman, this time a fifty-six-year-old from Montana, was also sentenced to prison time for fraud related to Social Security. She had pled guilty to false statements and has been sentenced to one year and one day in prison, as well as three years of supervised release. She also must pay restitution of  $142,542.

The woman “knew she was obligated to truthfully report her income and resources but instead lied for more than a decade to boost her benefits. Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid are federal programs intended to help those truly in need and to ensure they get adequate care when they cannot afford it,” U.S. attorney Jesse Laslovich said in the release. He added that the person’s “conduct took assistance from others who were without options. We will continue to safeguard federal benefits and will investigate and prosecute those who try to exploit these programs. I want to thank Assistant U.S. Attorney Karla E. Painter, the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General, and the Montana Department of Health and Human Services for their work on this case.”

And in Iowa, a thirty-nine-year-old Mexican national who lived in that state was sentenced to twenty-one months in prison after pleading guilty to the crime of misuse of a Social Security number. In 2019, prosecutors said, the man had applied to work for a company in Iowa and was subsequently hired, while knowingly misusing a Social Security number.

Per the Kansas City Star, the man also used the fake number to obtain a California ID, a U.S. passport, an I-9 tax form, and to open two bank accounts.

“Looking at the defendant’s criminal history it is very apparent that the defendant is not interested in living a lawful life,” prosecutors said, per the newspaper. “The defendant has a very consistent pattern of using alcohol, including driving while under the influence, beginning in 2002. He also has been involved in assaultive behavior and obstruction of law enforcement.”

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Image: Reuters.