News and Press Releases

Rochester Woman Charged with Stealing Social Security Benefits

April 6, 2012

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - A resident of Beaver County, Pennsylvania, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on a charge of theft of government money, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

The one-count indictment, returned on April 4, named Dorothea Barnes, 75, of Rochester, Pa., as the sole defendant.

According to indictment, Barnes cashed the Social Security Title II benefit checks of James Neely, who died on Feb. 23, 1999, which were deposited by automated credit from the United States Treasury to Trustmark National Bank, Jackson, Mississippi, into a joint checking account she shared with her father. Barnes withdrew sums of money by writing checks from the checking account in the amount of $118,223.00.

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of not more than 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Nelson P. Cohen is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.

An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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