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woman sentenced to prison for stealing dead grandmother's benefits

October 22, 2012


PHILADELPHIA - Doris Whitfield Richardson, 60, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was sentenced today to 33 months in prison for taking the Veteran’s Affairs and Office of Personnel Management survivor benefits that were earmarked for her grandmother, who died in 1986. Additionally, Richardson did not report this income to the Social Security Administration and the Department of Housing and Urban Development when she applied for governmental assistance. Richardson pleaded guilty on July 12, 2012 to four counts of conversion of government funds, eight counts of wire fraud and one count of Social Security fraud. Richardson’s grandmother was receiving survivor benefits from the Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. After she died, Richardson continued to receive, and covert to her own use, the benefits that were in her grandmother’s name. To do this, she engaged in a long-running scheme that included opening a P.O. Box and bank accounts in her deceased grandmother’s name. The total loss to the government is nearly a quarter of a million dollars.

In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Paul S. Diamond ordered Richardson to pay restitution of $222,641.24, a special assessment of $1,300, and to be subject to three years supervised release at the conclusion of her prison term. Richardson was immediately remanded to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons.

The case was investigated by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, the Office of Personnel Management Office of Inspector General, the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, the Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General, the Philadelphia Housing Authority Office of Audit and Compliance, and the U.S. Secret Service. It was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Amanda R. Reinitz.

Suite 1250, 615 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
PATTY HARTMAN, Media Contact, 215-861-8525


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