FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC at 410-209-4885
January 3, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ELLICOTT CITY WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO THEFT OF GOVERNMENT PROPERTY
Used Dead Man’s Identity to Steal Over $82,000 in Social Security Disability Benefits During Eight Year Period
Baltimore, Maryland - Penny Banks, age 45, of Ellicott City, Maryland pleaded guilty today to theft of government property, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
According to her plea, from August 1998 to January 2006, Banks stole $82,462 in social security benefits deposited into the bank account of Ronald Ellis for her own use. Ellis and Banks had lived in the same apartment complex and become friends. When Ellis was moved into a nursing home facility due to his declining health, mail relating to his bank account was forwarded to Banks. Ellis died on July 30, 1998, but his monthly social security benefits continued to be directly deposited into his bank account. Banks admitted that she forged Ellis’s signature and wrote checks from his bank account to pay her bills and expenses. She also caused debtors to withdraw money from Ellis’s bank account to pay her bills and expenses. Between Ellis’s death and January 2006, Banks spent $82,462 of social security benefits mistakenly deposited by SSA into Ellis’s bank account. Banks was not entitled to the money. Banks knew that the money did not belong to her and she intended to deprive the United States of use of the money.
Banks faces a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment followed by 3 years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Chief U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg has scheduled sentencing for April 20, 2007 at 10:00 a.m.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the investigative work performed by the Social Security Administration - Office of Inspector General. Mr. Rosenstein also thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Tonya Kelly Kowitz, who is prosecuting the case.
This page last modifiedJanuary 3, 2007