Worcester Woman Sentenced for Aggravated Identity Theft and Social Security Fraud
BOSTON – A Worcester woman was sentenced yesterday in U.S. District Court in Worcester for fraudulently receiving more than $50,000 of disability benefits under a stolen identity.
Lydean Howe, a/k/a “Sally Smith,” 52, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman to two years and one day in prison and three years of supervised release. In November 2014, Howe pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of Social Security fraud.
In 1998, Howe stole the identity of another individual, and used the stolen identity to work, obtain a driver’s license and other identification documents, and to obtain credit cards, among other things. In 2008, using the stolen identity, Howe applied for and obtained Social Security Administration disability benefits, falsely claiming that the other individual’s social security number had been assigned to her by the Social Security Administration. When first questioned by the Social Security Administration about her identity, Howe claimed that she was a victim of identity theft and thereafter attempted to divert law enforcement’s focus to another person. Howe obtained $50,827 in disability benefits under the stolen identity.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Scott Antolik, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michelle L. Dineen Jerrett and Greg A. Friedholm of Ortiz’s Worcester Branch Office.