Fort Washington Woman Pleads Guilty To Stealing Social Security Checks

For 20 Years, Fraudulently Cashed Social Security Checks
Intended for Her Dead Grandmother Totaling $131,252

September 8, 2011

Greenbelt, Maryland - Calogera Piazza, age 44, of Fort Washington, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to theft of government money.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; and Special Agent in Charge Michael McGill of the Social Security Administration - Office of Inspector General, Philadelphia Field Division.

According to Piazza’s plea agreement, Calogera Piazza, the grandmother of defendant Calogera Piazza, received monthly Social Security retirement benefits beginning in 1969. The elder Piazza died on February 16, 1990. Her death was not reported to the SSA, and SSA payments continued to the elder Piazza after her death. Defendant Piazza resided at her grandmother’s residence and received by mail the SSA checks intended for her grandmother. From February 1990 to September 2010, Piazza fraudulently cashed these checks and used the proceeds totaling $131,252 for her personal benefit.

As part of her plea agreement, Piazza has agreed to the entry of an order of forfeiture of $131,252.

Piazza faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Chief U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow has scheduled sentencing for December 16, 2011 at 9:00 a.m.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the SSA - OIG for its work in the investigation and thanked Assistant United States Attorney Christen A. Sproule, who is prosecuting the case.

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