Houston Man Convicted of Theft of Government Funds
|Nov. 16, 2012|
HOUSTON - Hector Melchor-Sanchez, 46, of Houston, has pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government funds from the Social Security Disability Insurance fund, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.
In entering his plea today before United States District Judge Ewing Werlein Jr., Melchor admitted that, from February 1996 through March 2012, he stole approximately $83,000 from the United States Social Security Administration (SSA). Melchor admitted he applied for SSA Disability Insurance Benefits using the identity and SSA record of a person named Hector Contreras.
Melchor began receiving SSA disability benefits in that name beginning in February 1996 and further admitted he had obtained a Texas Driver License (TDL) in the name of Hector Contreras. On Dec. 13, 2004, Melchor swore to a false affidavit in the name of Hector Contreras which he submitted to SSA claiming he was the victim of identity theft.
On Aug. 31, 2008, SSA sent a letter explaining that his benefits would cease due to an arrest warrant from Woodland, Calif., for Hector Contreras. In response, Melchor sent his fingerprints to the Superior Court of Yolo County confirming, based on a fingerprint comparison, he was not the Hector Contreras wanted in Yolo County. Melchor forwarded the county court letter to the SSA and continued receiving benefits. On Aug. 11, 2009, Melchor opened an account at JP Morgan Chase using Contreras' identity and Social Security number. For identification, Melchor used the TDL he obtained in Contreras’ name and a credit card also issued in Contreras’ name. Melchor also admitted he was deported previously to Mexico on March 10, 1993, and had not been granted permission to re-enter the United States.
In addition to pleading to the criminal charge, Melchor agreed to pay restitution of $83,000 to the Social Security Disability Insurance fund.
Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 8, 2013, at which time he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in a federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
The criminal charges are the result of an investigation conducted by the SSA - Office of Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Al Balboni.