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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 13, 2015

Abington Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing Social Security Benefits

BOSTON – An Abington man pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Boston to stealing $65,311 in Social Security benefits.

Mark Gardner, 57, pleaded guilty to theft of public money.  U.S. Senior District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf scheduled sentencing for Feb. 5, 2016.

Gardner’s mother died in 2009, but her monthly Social Security benefits continued to be directly deposited into a bank account held jointly in her name and Gardner’s name.  Although Gardner was not entitled to this money, he routinely withdrew the Social Security money for his own use.  In total, from 2009 to 2014, Gardner took $65,311 in Social Security funds to which he was not entitled.

This case was brought as part of an ongoing effort by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in partnership with the Social Security Administration, to investigate and prosecute the posthumous fraud of Social Security benefits.  In many of these cases, family members, knowing they are not entitled to government benefits, continue to withdraw and spend the funds after a relative has died.  Since October 2014, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has prosecuted several similar cases involving a total of more than $1 million in stolen government money: 

In November 2015, Brian Sandiford, of Milton, pleaded guilty to stealing $70,811 from Social Security from 2010 to 2014.  Sentencing is scheduled for March 3, 2016.

In September 2015, Patricia Kwiatkowski, of Upton, was sentenced for stealing $128,101 from Social Security from 2006 to 2014.

In April 2015, Graeme Griffith, of Andover, was sentenced for stealing $149,285 from Social Security from 2003 to 2014.

Also in April 2015, Frances Kenney Moseley, of Boston, was sentenced for stealing $222,172 from Social Security from 2003 to 2010.

The charging statute provides a sentence of no greater than ten years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater, and restitution.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Scott Antolik, Special Agent in Charge of the Office of Inspector General, Social Security Administration, Office of Investigations, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today.  The Gardner case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Landry of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit.

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Updated February 4, 2016