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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of New York

Friday, March 11, 2016

Andes Woman Indicted for Social Security Fraud

BINGHAMTON, NEW YORK – Deborah E. Cottrell, age 65, of Andes, New York, was arraigned yesterday on an indictment accusing her of concealing her marriage and making false statements to the Social Security Administration (SSA) in order to obtain Survivor’s Insurance Benefits.

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian and Edward J. Ryan, Special Agent-In-Charge of the SSA Office of the Inspector General.

The indictment alleges that Cottrell began to collect Survivor’s Insurance Benefits in 1998 and remarried in 2006, which disqualified her from receiving benefits.  The indictment alleges that Cottrell continued to receive benefits following her remarriage and in July 2014, mailed a form to the SSA falsely stating that she had not remarried.

The charges in the indictment are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Cottrell faces up to 20 years of imprisonment, 2 years of post-imprisonment supervised release and a $250,000 fine, if convicted on all counts of the indictment. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors. 

Cottrell was arraigned yesterday in Binghamton before U.S. Magistrate Judge Therese Wiley Dancks. She was released on a bond pending a trial scheduled for May 9, 2016 before U.S. District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy.

This case is being investigated by the SSA Office of the Inspector General and is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason W. White.

Financial Fraud
Updated March 11, 2016