NEW ORLEANS MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO THEFT OF GOVERNMENT FUNDS
MARK PELLEGRIN, age 53, a resident of Schriever, Louisiana, pleaded guilty today before U. S. District Court Judge Jay C. Zainey to a one-count bill of information for theft of government funds for his fraudulent receipt of Social Security Administration Disability Benefits, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten.
According to the court documents, in September of 1995, PELLEGRIN began receiving Social Security Disability Benefits. From September of 1995 until January of 2011, PELLEGRIN represented to the Social Security Administration that he was unable to maintain gainful employment because of his disability. PELLEGRIN was aware that he was required to inform the Social Security Administration if he became employed.
However, in September of 2005, PELLEGRIN became employed and continued to be gainfully employed to present. PELLEGRIN admitted that he did not tell the Social Security Administration about his employment and was paid in cash to prevent the Social Security Administration from learning of his employment and discontinuing his benefit checks. PELLEGRIN’s earnings were greater than the disability threshold amounts set by the Social Security Administration. The total loss to the government from PELLEGRIN’s fraud was approximately $75,145.60.
PELLEGRIN faces a maximum term of ten (10) years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, and three (3) years of supervised release. Sentencing is scheduled for November 29, 2011.
The case was investigated by the United States Social Security Administration-Office of Inspector General.
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud from a person or an organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of storm victims or have knowledge of waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud toll free at: (866) 720-5721. You can also fax information to: (225) 334-4707 or e-mail it to: firstname.lastname@example.org