District Man Pleads Guilty To Federal Charge In Theft Of More Than $340,000 In Government Funds-Defendant Cashed In On Benefits In Name Of Deceased Mother-
WASHINGTON - Eugene Weatherford, 60, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty today to a federal charge stemming from the theft of more than $340,000 in government money, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., Michael McGill, Special Agent in Charge from the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General, and Patrick E. McFarland, Inspector General for the Office of Personnel Management.
Weatherford, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to theft of government funds. The Honorable Richard W. Roberts scheduled sentencing for Aug. 13, 2013. Weatherford faces a statutory maximum of 10 years in prison. Under federal sentencing guidelines, he faces a likely range of 18 to 24 months of incarceration.
In connection with the guilty plea, Weatherford admitted that from March 1999 through June 2012, he received and negotiated U.S. Treasury checks issued in the name of his mother, who died in February 1999. These checks included retirement benefits from the U.S. Social Security Administration and annuity benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
According to the government’s evidence, following his mother’s death, Weatherford continued to receive and negotiate the U.S. Treasury checks in her name by depositing them into a joint bank account that they shared. In certain instances, Weatherford signed his own name in endorsing the backs of the checks issued in his mother’s name, and in other instances, he left the endorsement blank, aside from instructions to deposit the money into the joint bank account.
Weatherford admitted that, through this scheme, he obtained approximately $255,038 in Social Security retirement benefits and $91,484 in OPM annuity benefits, for a total illicit gain of approximately $346,522.
In announcing the guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Machen, Special Agent in Charge McGill and Inspector General McFarland commended those who investigated the case from the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General and OPM’s Office of Inspector General. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists Angela Lawrence and Nicole Wattelet, Assistant U.S. Attorney Catherine Connelly, who assisted with forfeiture issues, and Assistant U.S. Attorney David Last, who prosecuted the case.