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Justice News

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

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Haydenville Woman Sentenced for Stealing Social Security Benefits

BOSTON – A Haydenville, Mass. woman was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Springfield to stealing more than $45,000 of her deceased mother’s Social Security benefits.

Shirley Warner, 52, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni to three years of probation and was ordered to pay $45,491 in restitution to the Social Security Administration and a fine of  $1,000.

In July 2010, Warner’s mother died, but her monthly Social Security benefits continued to be directly deposited into a joint bank account in her and Warner’s names.  From August 2010 to March 2014, Warner continued to receive her deceased mother’s benefits totaling $45,491.

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, Lynn Medeiros, of New Bedford, was sentenced to four months in prison and ordered to pay restitution for stealing over $60,000 in Social Security benefits by continuing to collect her disabled son’s benefits after he left her custody. 

Also last month, Mark Gardner, of Abington, was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay restitution and a fine for stealing $65,311 in Social Security benefits.

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.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Deepika Bains Shukla of Ortiz’s Springfield Branch Office.

Financial Fraud
Updated May 26, 2016