Georgia Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing Deceased Father’s Social Security Benefits
ATLANTA - Timothy S. Lenon has pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government funds for stealing over $300,000 in Social Security benefits. Lenon received and subsequently spent his deceased father’s Social Security benefits for over 20 years after his death, and did the same with his father’s New York City pension.
“Lenon pocketed his deceased father’s Social Security payments for over 20 years, using the money to pay his own personal expenses,” said U. S. Attorney John Horn. “His theft ultimately diverted these scarce resources from those citizens who truly needed them to live.”
“The Social Security Office of the Inspector General has no higher priority than the investigation and prosecution of those who violate the public’s trust by failing to report Social Security beneficiary deaths and continuing to receive the deceased’s benefits. I’m grateful that the U.S. Attorney’s Office shares our determination to protect the integrity of the SSA’s programs for those who rely on them now and into the future,” stated Special Agent-in-Charge Margaret Moore-Jackson.
According to U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges and other information presented in court: The defendant's father died on January 16, 1994. At the time of his death, he received Social Security retirement benefits and New York City pension benefits that were deposited directly into his bank account. The defendant never notified Social Security that his father died and never closed his father's bank account.
Two years after his father's death, Lenon contacted Social Security and changed the address on his father's account in order to maintain the appearance that his father was still alive. As a result, his father's benefits continued to be deposited into his bank account until April 2014. Bank records showed that Lenon used the money in his father's account to live beyond his means. Social Security money paid for multiple credit cards in both his and his partner’s names, dozens of monthly Amazon purchases, utility bills for himself and his family, and phone bills. In total, the defendant stole over $309,000 from Social Security.
When law enforcement questioned the defendant, he claimed that he thought the bank account was closed after his father's death. Later, he told law enforcement that he never touched the money in the account. Eventually, he admitted that he spent some funds from the account, but continued to minimize the magnitude of his theft by claiming that he only spent money out of the account for a two-year period. The evidence, however, directly contradicted his version of events and showed that he spent all the money in the account.
Additionally, the defendant did not notify the New York City pension system of his father's death, and therefore, his father's pension benefits continued to be direct deposited into his father's account from 1994 until 2008. In total, the New York City pension system deposited over $157,000 into his father's account. Lenon also spent all of this money.
Sentencing for Timothy S. Lenon, 57, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is scheduled for July 19, 2017 at 11:00 a.m., before U.S. District Judge Charles A. Pannell Jr.
This case is being investigated by the Social Security Administration - Office of the Inspector General.
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane C. Schulman is prosecuting the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.