Dallas Man Sentenced To Two Years In Federal Prison And Ordered To Pay $168,920 In Restitution For Fraudulently Receiving Social Security Benefits
Defendant Collected His Deceased “Father’s” Benefits
DALLAS — A Dallas man, Jose Alfredo Rodriguez, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay to two years in federal prison and ordered to pay $168,920 in restitution, following his conviction at trial in October 2013 on felony offenses related to his theft of his deceased father’s Social Security retirement benefits, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
The jury deliberated just two hours to convict Rodriguez, 54, on one count of theft of government funds and three counts of making false statements. At today’s sentencing hearing, Judge Lindsay ordered that Rodriguez surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on April 4, 2014.
The government presented evidence at trial that beginning in 1989, Fernando Loya began receiving Title II Retirement Insurance benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA determined that Mr. Loya required a representative payee to manage his benefits on his behalf, and appointed Rodriguez, who considered Mr. Loya his father, as Mr. Loya’s payee.
In early September 2, 2011, in response to a request from the SSA to bring Mr. Loya and his identification information to the SSA office in Dallas, Rodriguez appeared without Mr. Loya and informed a SSA employee that Mr. Loya lived in Mexico. On October 27, 2011, Rodriguez called the SSA and reported that Mr. Loya had passed away in Mexico on September 15, 2011.
An investigation ensued and when confronted, Rodriguez conceded that the last time he went to Mexico to give Mr. Loya his benefits, was in 1992 or 1994. Rodriguez also conceded that he did not know how or when Mr. Loya died, but believed it may have been in 1995, and that he sent no money to Mexico for his care after 1997.
The government presented further evidence at trial that on November 15, 2008, June 7, 2009 and May 20, 2011, Rodriguez made false statements or representations in documents used by the SSA to determine continued rights to Social Security benefits for Mr. Loya. On those dates, Rodriguez stated that he had spent, respectively, $13,160, $13,640 and $14,184 for food, housing, clothing, medical and dental expenses, recreation and personal expenses for Mr. Loya, when he well knew he did not use those funds for Mr. Loya.
The case was investigated by the SSA’s Office of Inspector General. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Dana prosecuted.