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Springfield Man Charged with Defrauding Government of Social Security and Food Stamp Benefits

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 6, 2011

Springfield, Ill. – A grand jury today returned an indictment charging a Springfield, Ill., man, Matthew Allen Paoli, 39, of the 500 block of Hay Street, with defrauding the Social Security Administration of approximately $48,000. The indictment alleges that Paoli received over $48,000 in disability benefits on behalf of his disabled son and converted a portion of the benefits to his own use. The U.S. Clerk of the Court will issue a summons for Paoli to appear in federal court at a later date.

According to the indictment, on Feb. 21, 2002, Paoli filed a request with the Social Security Administration to be appointed as the representative payee for his disabled seven-year-old son who was eligible to receive monthly benefit payments under the Supplemental Security Income Program. The indictment alleges that from Sept. 5, 2007 to Sept. 1, 2009, Paoli received monthly SSI benefit payments on behalf of his son when his disabled son no longer lived with him and he no longer provided care and support of his disabled son. The indictment alleges that Paoli converted the benefits received on behalf of his son to his own use. The indictment also alleges that Paoli received food stamp benefits of more than $10,000 that he was not entitled to receive under a program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The charges were investigated by the Office of Inspector General for the Social Security Administration, and the Office of Inspector General U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Illinois Department of Human Services. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Harris.

The indictment specifically charges Paoli with one count each of mail fraud, conversion of Social Security benefits, and making a false statement. If convicted, the offense of mail fraud carries a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. For conversion of Social Security benefits and making a false statement, the penalty is up to five years in prison.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

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