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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 10, 2015

Boston Woman Sentenced for Social Security and Tax Fraud

BOSTON – A Boston woman was sentenced today for 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, 66, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani to three years of probation, including six months of home confinement, 1500 hours of community service, a fine of $5,000, and restitution of $470,188.  In September 2014, Moseley pleaded guilty to theft of public money and tax evasion.

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 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.

Since October 2013, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has prosecuted several similar cases involving a total of more than $1 million in stolen government money.

In February 2015, Charles Gerbutavich, of Manchester, was sentenced to one year of probation, including three months of home confinement, and was ordered to pay a $3,000 fine and $161,587 in restitution to the Social Security Administration, which he paid in full in February.  Gerbutavich pleaded guilty in connection with taking his deceased father’s Social Security benefits, which were directly deposited into a joint bank account after his death in 1993.

In January 2015, Graeme Griffith, of Andover, pleaded guilty to taking his deceased father’s Social Security benefits totaling $149,285, which were directly deposited into a joint bank account after the father’s death in 2003.  Griffith is scheduled to be sentenced on April 16, 2015.

In October 2014, Mary Murphy, of Dorchester, was sentenced to 18 months of home confinement and 10 hours per week of community service, and ordered to pay a fine of $40,000 and $331,630 in restitution, which she paid in full in October.  Murphy pleaded guilty in connection with taking her deceased mother’s Social Security and Civil Service retirement benefits, which were directly deposited into a joint bank account after her death in 1977.

Also in October 2014, Richard Oldham, of Old Orchard Beach, Maine, was sentenced to four months in prison, six months of home confinement, and ordered to pay $195,862 in restitution for endorsing Social Security checks in his deceased mother’s name following her death in 1993. 

In August 2014, George Bergstrom, of Shrewsbury, was sentenced to one year of probation and 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 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 Assistant U.S. Attorney David G. Tobin and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Landry of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit.

Component(s): 
Updated April 10, 2015