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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Fall River Woman Sentenced for Identity Theft and Theft of Social Security Benefits

BOSTON – A Jamaican woman living in Fall River was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Boston in connection with using her sister’s identity to enter the United States and collecting nearly $300,000 in government benefits, while also using five other identities.

Sandra McDonald, 51, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Denise J. Casper to 27 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and restitution in the amount of $297,709 to be divided amongst the Social Security Administration, Massachusetts State Supplemental Program, MassHealth and the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance.  In September 2016, McDonald pleaded guilty to passport fraud, theft of public money, and misrepresenting a Social Security number.  McDonald has been held in custody since her arrest in May 2016. 

In 1990, McDonald, who was born in Jamaica, obtained a U.S. resident alien card under her sister’s name, but with her own photograph and fingerprint on the card.  Shortly after entering the United States under her sister’s identity, McDonald obtained a Social Security card, also in her sister’s name.  In 1996, McDonald applied for Social Security Supplemental Security Income benefits under her sister’s identity and has received more than $140,000 in benefits illegally.  McDonald also used her sister’s identity to illegally receive nearly $30,000 in MassHealth benefits, over $125,000 in other state benefits, open bank accounts and obtain a driver’s license.  McDonald also listed her sister’s name as the mother on the birth certificates of four of her own children.  

In addition to using her sister’s identity, McDonald used five other identities to obtain state identification cards, driver’s licenses, passports and open bank accounts.  McDonald also used other identities—including her sister’s—when she was arrested on several occasions. 

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Scott Antolik, Special Agent in Charge of the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, Boston Field Division; Matthew Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; David W. Hall, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Boston Field Office; Phillip Coyne, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations; Suzanne M. Bump, State Auditor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; and Colonel Richard D. McKeon, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, made the announcement today.  Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Landry of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.

Topic(s): 
Identity Theft
Component(s): 
Updated December 21, 2016