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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tobyhanna Woman Charged With Social Security Fraud

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that a federal grand jury in Scranton has issued an indictment charging a Tobyhanna woman with devising and carrying out a scheme to defraud the Social Security Administration (SSA) of financial benefits intended for low-income individuals and families.

According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, the indictment alleges that Darlene Loveless, aged 50, of Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania, received a substantial inheritance in 2007 but claimed not to have any significant family resources when she was interviewed by a representative of the SSA in early 2010. As a result, Loveless allegedly continued to collect Supplemental Security Income benefits on behalf of her adopted daughter in 2010, 2011, and 2012, despite the fact that the majority of the inheritance allegedly remained in the possession of Loveless during the time that the benefits were being paid to her as a “representative payee.”

The investigation was conducted by the Social Security Administration. Prosecution is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Peter Hobart.

Indictments and Criminal Informations 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.

In this case, the maximum penalty under federal law for Fraudulent Acts in relation to Supplemental Security Income is five (5) years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a $250,000 fine, and the maximum penalty for Theft of Government Property is ten (10) years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a $250,000 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.

(Indictment)

Updated April 9, 2015