What would you do with an extra $14,500 a year? Deborah Rossoni, 58, of Lemoore, Calif., collected that amount from the Social Security Administration (SSA) every year, for six years. (There was just one problem – the money did not belong to her, and she didn’t deserve to receive it either.)
The Kings County woman lost her father in July 2012 when he passed away. But she didn’t inform the SSA of his death and continued to collect his Social Security benefits. (I’d like to think that this crime doesn’t happen very often, but unfortunately it does. Fraudsters love free money, especially when they don’t have to do anything to get it.)
The SSA is explicit with instructions on what to do when a family member dies. (There are even several ways that the SSA can be notified so it’s not like it’s a difficult process.)
Rossoni’s father’s SSA benefits were deposited into his bank account every month like clockwork. She transferred the benefit payments into her own bank accounts, then paid off some bills including credit cards and house repairs, as well as other expenditures. (Receiving $14,500 per year might not sound like much, but that amounts to about $1,200 per month.)
I’m guessing that Rossoni left quite a paper trail of bank account transfer receipts for investigators. She pleaded guilty to committing Social Security fraud by stealing $87,000 in benefits. She has agreed to pay full restitution to the SSA. When sentenced in February 2022, Rossoni faces a maximum penalty of 10 years behind bars and a $250,000 fine.
Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an Office of the Inspector General, Social Security Administration press release, “Kings County Woman Pleads Guilty to Stealing $87,000 in Social Security Benefits,” dated November 8, 2021.
FRESNO, Calif. — Deborah Rossoni, 58, of Lemoore, pleaded guilty today to stealing $87,000 in Social Security payments and agreed to pay full restitution to the Social Security Administration, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, in July 2012, Rossoni’s father passed away, but the SSA was not notified of his death and continued direct depositing Social Security payments into his bank account until July 2018. During this time, Rossoni transferred the payments into her own bank accounts and then used the money for personal expenditures, including credit card bills and house repairs.