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Press Release

Laurel Woman Admits To Stealing Almost $300,000 In Social Security Benefit Checks Over A 17 Year Period

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maryland

In Unrelated Case, Baltimore Man Admits Stealing $127,000 in SSA Benefits Over 16 Years

Greenbelt, Maryland –Yvonne Isadora Whiteman, age 69, of Laurel, Maryland pleaded guilty today to theft of government property.

The plea agreement was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Michael McGill of the Social Security Administration (SSA) - Office of Inspector General, Philadelphia Field Division.

According to her plea agreement, Whiteman’s mother received monthly social security retirement benefits based on her earnings record. Whiteman’s mother moved to Trinidad, West Indies in the summer of 1997 to live with Whiteman’s sister, and died there on October 8, 1997. Her death was not reported to SSA.

At the time of her mother’s death, the benefits were paid by direct deposit to a joint bank account held by Whiteman and her mother. Whiteman sent the benefits to her sister in Trinidad during the short period her mother was alive and living there.

In 2013, SSA determined that because Whiteman’s mother had not used Medicare services, the mother was likely deceased. On December 13, 2013, Whiteman met with a SSA specialist and provided a forged death certificate purporting to show that her mother died on October 8, 2013. When the SSA specialist later advised Whiteman that she would use the consular process to obtain the true death certificate, Whiteman admitted that she had lied about her mother’s date of death.

SSA paid a total of $299,951 from October 8, 1997 until October 2013 when the benefits were terminated. At the time the benefits were terminated, the mother’s monthly benefit amount was $1,847. Whiteman used all but approximately $4,000 of her mother’s benefits to pay for her own personal expenses.

Whiteman faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Whiteman has agreed to pay restitution of $299,951. U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow scheduled sentencing for February 2, 2015, at 11:30 a.m.

In an unrelated case, Allen Thomas Wilson, age 72, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, to theft of government property in connection with a similar scheme in which he spent retirement benefits paid by SSA for the benefit of his mother for his personal use. From the time of his mother’s death on September 19, 1997, until January 2014, when benefits were terminated, SSA paid a total of $127,700. Wilson has agreed to pay restitution in this amount. U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander has scheduled sentencing for December 19, 2014, at 9:15 a.m.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the Social Security Administration - OIG for its work in the investigations, and thanked Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul K. Nitze, assigned from the Social Security Administration, who is prosecuting these cases.

Updated January 26, 2015