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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 29, 2018

Queens Man Arrested for Stealing More than $150,000 in Government Benefits Paid to His Deceased Mother

Defendant Falsely Claimed to the Government That His Mother Was Alive but Unavailable to Be Interviewed

Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, Mark Hodge was arrested on a complaint charging him with theft of government property.  Hodge allegedly stole more than $150,000 from the Social Security Administration, the Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Veterans Affairs between March 1999 and July 2017.  Hodge is scheduled to make his initial appearance this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Vera M. Scanlon.

Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and John Grasso, Special Agent-in-Charge, Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General (SSA-OIG), announced the charge.

“Month after month for nearly two decades, the defendant allegedly stole government funds intended for his mother, who had died in 1999,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “This Office will hold responsible and prosecute those fraudsters who cash government checks meant for our nation’s retirees, veterans, or the disabled.”

“Today’s arrest should serve as a warning to those who choose to selfishly defraud the Social Security Trust Fund,” stated SSA-OIG Special Agent-in-Charge Grasso. “The Social Security Office of the Inspector General vigorously pursues these cases, and we will continue to work jointly with other law enforcement partners to identify and prosecute fraud perpetrators in the future.  I strongly encourage the public to report suspected instances of Social Security fraud to the OIG’s Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271 or https://oig.ssa.gov/report.”

According to the complaint, the three federal agencies had been paying benefits to the defendant’s mother, who had been residing with the defendant until her death in 1999.  Unaware of her death, the agencies continued making payments for her benefit.  Instead of reporting the overpayments, the defendant transferred the funds from a joint bank account in his mother’s name to his own personal checking account.  The defendant continued the fraud in November 2016, when he falsely represented to the Social Security Administration that his mother was alive but unable to be interviewed because she had been hospitalized.

The charges in the complaint are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.  If convicted, the defendant faces a statutory maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment for theft of government property.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Section.  Special Assistant United States Attorney Virginia Nguyen is in charge of the prosecution.

The Defendant:

MARK HODGE
Age: 60
Residence: Queens, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-MJ-257

Contact: 
John Marzulli Tyler Daniels United States Attorney’s Office (718) 254-6323
Updated March 29, 2018