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Justice News

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

Monday, November 23, 2015

Winthrop Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing Over $400,000 in Government Benefits

BOSTON – Richard Alan Hersey, 63, of Winthrop, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Boston to stealing over $400,000 in Social Security and federal pension benefits.  U.S. District Court Judge Leo T. Sorokin scheduled sentencing for Feb. 23, 2016.

In 1991, Hersey’s mother passed away, but her Social Security and pension funds continued to be directly deposited into a bank account held jointly by her and Hersey.  Although he was not entitled to the funds, Hersey routinely withdrew them from the account after his mother’s death.  In total, from 1991 to 2015, Hersey took $444,287 in Social Security and pension funds to which he was not entitled.

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 2015, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has prosecuted several similar cases involving a total of more than $1 million in stolen government money: 

In November 2015, Mark Gardner, of Abington, pleaded guilty to stealing $65,311 from Social Security from 2009 to 2014.  Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 5, 2016.

Also in November, Brian Sandiford, of Milton, pleaded guilty to stealing $70,811 from Social Security from 2010 to 2014.  Sentencing is scheduled for March 3, 2016.

In September 2015, Patricia Kwiatkowski, of Upton, was sentenced for stealing $128,101 from Social Security from 2006 to 2014.

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; and Scott Rezendes, Special Agent in Charge of the Office of Personnel Management, Office of Inspector General, Field Operations, made the announcement today.  The Hersey case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Landry of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit.

Updated February 4, 2016