News and Press Releases

Trenton, n.J., man sentenced to 15 months in prison for
stealing social security disability benefits

April 26, 2012


TRENTON, N.J. – John Bethea, 55, of Trenton, N.J., was sentenced today to 15 months in prison for stealing nearly $90,000 in Social Security disability benefits and using his brother’s Social Security number to obtain employment and worker’s compensation, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Bethea previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano to an Information charging him with theft of government funds and misrepresentation of a Social Security number. Judge Pisano imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

While he was receiving Social Security disability benefits from August 1999 through July 2011, Bethea worked for three different employers in New Jersey and earned more than $188,000 without notifying the Social Security Administration. He used his brother’s Social Security number to obtain a New Jersey driver’s license in his brother’s name, with his own picture, and used that fraudulent license to obtain employment under his brother’s identity, which enabled him to continue receiving Social Security disability benefits while working. After he sustained an on-the-job injury, he used his brother’s identity to collect more than $28,000 in worker’s compensation.

As part of his guilty plea, Bethea agreed to pay $89,216 in restitution to Social Security for the benefits he fraudulently received and $28,436 in restitution to AmGuard Insurance Co. for the worker’s compensation he fraudulently received.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Pisano sentenced Bethea to two years of supervised release and ordered to make restitution of $89,216 to the Social Security Administration and $28,436 to AmGuard Ins. Co.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Edward J. Ryan, for their work in the investigation of this case.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah M. Wolfe of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Trenton.


Defense counsel: Lisa Van Hoeck Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender

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