FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Feb. 10, 2014
JACKSON COUNTY MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO THEFT OF SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS
Charleston, W.Va. – A Jackson County man entered a guilty plea to theft of government money, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin announced today. Michael W. Smith, 36, of Sandyville, West Virginia, faces a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and mandatory restitution in the amount of $10,110 dollars. Sentencing is scheduled for May 7, 2014.
In October of 2008, Smith began receiving Social Security benefits on behalf of his uncle, James Conrad, as Mr. Conrad’s representative payee. A representative payee is a person who agrees to receive benefits on behalf of the intended recipient. When Mr. Conrad died on April 29, 2009, Smith’s right to receive benefits on behalf of his uncle ended. Smith continued to take the benefit payments on behalf of his deceased uncle from May of 2009 to July of 2010 by cashing benefit checks totaling $10,100.
The Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Erik S. Goes handled the prosecution. The plea was taken by United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr.