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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 15, 2016

East Boston Woman Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Social Security

BOSTON – An East Boston woman pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Boston to fraudulently obtaining over $50,000 in Social Security benefits.

Patricia Grifoni, 53, pleaded guilty today to Social Security fraud before U.S. District Court Senior Judge Mark L. Wolf who scheduled sentencing for March 10, 2017.

In 1993, Grifoni began receiving Social Security Supplemental Security Income disability benefits on behalf of her disabled daughter.  These benefits are based, in part, on the financial need of the family with whom the child lives.  Beginning in 1995, Grifoni told Social Security that her husband no longer lived with her.  Therefore, the Social Security Administration did not include her husband’s income when calculating her daughter’s benefits.  In reality, Grifoni’s husband lived in the same household as Grifoni and their daughter since at least 2005, and his income would have made their daughter financially ineligible to receive benefits from 2005 to 2011.  As a result, Grifoni illegally collected $51,530 in benefits on her daughter’s behalf.

The charge of Social Security fraud provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater.  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 Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today.  Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Landry of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated December 15, 2016