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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 4, 2016

Abington Man Sentenced for Stealing Social Security Benefits

BOSTON – An Abington man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Boston for stealing $65,311 in Social Security benefits.

Mark Gardner, 57, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Senior Judge Mark L. Wolf to three years of probation, including six months of home confinement, and was ordered to pay $65,311 in restitution to the Social Security Administration and a fine of $6,000.  In November 2015, Gardner pleaded guilty to stealing public money.

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.  In the past year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has prosecuted several similar cases involving a total of more than $1 million in stolen government money.

Last month, Lucy Girard, of Townsend, Mass., pleaded guilty to stealing $208,068 from Social Security; Brian Sandiford, of Jamaica Plain, was sentenced for stealing $70,811 from Social Security; and Shirley Warner, of Haydenville, Mass., pleaded guilty to stealing $45,491 from Social Security.  Next week, Richard Alan Hersey, of Winthrop, will be sentenced for stealing $444,287 in Social Security and federal pension benefits. 

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

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Updated April 4, 2016