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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

East Stroudsburg Man Charged With Stealing Deceased Mother’s Social Security Benefits

SCRANTON – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Steven M. Caravella, age 28, who formerly resided in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, was indicted by a federal grand jury for stealing social security benefits paid to his mother by the Social Security Administration. Caravella was indicted on April 12, 2016, but the case remained sealed until Caravella, a fugitive, was found and arrested in Youngstown, Ohio on July 18, 2017.


According to United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, the indictment charges Caravella, with using a government-issued debit card to obtain his mother’s social security benefits for approximately one year after her death. Caravella allegedly obtained approximately $7,762 in benefits between August 2012 and July 2013, as a result of the theft. The government is also seeking forfeiture of the funds wrongfully obtained by Caravella.


The investigation was conducted by the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorney Phillip J. Caraballo is prosecuting the case.


Indictments are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.


A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.


The maximum penalty under federal law is 10 years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.


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Financial Fraud
Updated July 26, 2017