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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 22, 2014

Boston Woman Pleads Guilty To Social Security And Tax Fraud

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BOSTON – A Boston woman pleaded guilty today to taking more than $220,000 in Social Security payments to which she was not entitled and failing to pay taxes on that income.

Frances Kenney Moseley, 65, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani to theft of public money and tax evasion. In September 2014, Moseley was charged in a felony information. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 22, 2014.

Following the death of Moseley’s father in 2003, and, unaware that he was deceased, the Social Security Administration continued to deposit his retirement benefits into his bank account. Moseley, who was not herself entitled to the benefits, regularly withdrew the deposited Social Security funds after her father’s death. Between 2003 and 2010, Moseley withdrew approximately $222,172 in Social Security funds paid to her deceased father. Moseley also failed to report the money as income on her federal income taxes.

During the same period of time, TIAA-CREF, a private investment/annuity company, unaware that Moseley’s father had died, continued to deposit annuity payments into the father’s account. Between 2003 and 2010, Moseley regularly withdrew the annuity payments, totaling approximately $248,016. Under the terms of the annuity, the payments were to have ceased upon the death of Moseley’s father.

This case is 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 August 2014, George Bergstrom of Shrewsbury was sentenced to one year of probation and was ordered to pay $57,948 in restitution—which he paid in full in August—for taking his deceased mother’s Social Security benefits, which were directly deposited into a joint bank account after her death in 2009.

In July 2014, Mary Murphy of Dorchester pleaded guilty to taking her deceased mother’s Social Security and Civil Service retirement benefits totaling $349,777, which were directly deposited into a joint bank account after her death in 1977. Murphy is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 22, 2014.

In March 2014, Richard Oldham of Old Orchard Beach, Maine, pleaded guilty to taking his deceased mother’s Social Security payments totaling $195,862 since her death in 1993. After his mother died, Oldham retrieved her Social Security checks from a post office box in Hopkinton, endorsed the checks in his mother’s name, and cashed them. Oldham is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 1, 2014.

In October 2013, John Flaherty of Newburyport was sentenced to 10 months in prison and was ordered to pay $168,830 in restitution for taking his deceased mother’s Social Security benefits, which were directly deposited into a joint bank account after her death in 1993.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Scott Antolik, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations, Boston Field Division; William P. Offord, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston; and Lisa A. Quinn, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service, made the announcement today. The Moseley case is being prosecuted by David G. Tobin and Timothy Landry of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit.


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Updated December 15, 2014