Embezzler’s Folly

Partial view of Social Security card, US Treasury checks and hundred dollar bills. Finance and retirement concept.

When you think of a bank robbery, imagine a dramatic crime spree in TV-land with a car chase. There’s usually a group of thugs donning black ski masks and holding innocent citizens at gunpoint, so they can abscond with as much money as possible. However, bank theft or as in today’s case, embezzlement (which is another type of robbery), is not always as grandiose in real life as it is on screen.

Materesa Jose, 53, of Malden, Mass., recently pleaded guilty to bank embezzlement and stealing Social Security benefits. (Her scheme didn’t involve any guns or ski masks, but it was grandiose just the same.)

As an employee of Eastern Bank, Jose stole approximately $27,605 over nearly a year from a bank account of a deceased individual. (Perhaps she thought no one would notice.) Some of those funds were from the Social Security Administration. (She used her position to carry out an inside job. It was a perfect cover, she thought.)

Until June 2021, it is undetermined what Jose’s full sentence will be. For the theft of Social Security funds, she faces up to 10 years in prison, an additional three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater.

The penalty for embezzlement triples the amount of prison time spent in prison and includes five years of supervised release and the same conditions surrounding another $250,000 fine. (Let’s hope Jose likes the color orange. She could be wearing it for a long time).

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “Malden woman pleads guilty to social security fraud, bank embezzlement, ” published by WickedLocal.com, on February 10, 2021.

A Malden woman pleaded guilty to stealing Social Security benefits and embezzling over $27,000 from a bank.

Materesa Jose, 53, pleaded guilty to one count of theft of public funds and one count of bank embezzlement. U.S. District Court judge Leo T. Sorokin scheduled sentencing for June 9. Jose was indicted in August 2020.


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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.