SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – George Rawda, age 57, of Baldwinsville, New York, pled guilty today to concealing information from the Social Security Administration (SSA) in order to defraud SSA into paying Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits to a family member, who was otherwise ineligible to receive such benefits.
The announcement was made by Acting United States Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon and John F. Grasso, Special Agent in Charge of the Social Security Administration (SSA), Office of the Inspector General, New York Field Office.
As part of his guilty plea, Rawda admitted that from November of 2014 through October of 2020, while acting as representative payee for a family member, Rawda concealed and failed to disclose that the family member was residing outside of the United States in order to deceive SSA into making benefit payments to the family member who was otherwise ineligible to receive SSI benefit payments. SSI is a needs-based program, available to elderly, blind, and disabled individuals, that provides money to pay for basic living expenses. A representative payee is a person or organization who has agreed to receive and use Social Security benefits on a beneficiary’s behalf. A representative payee is also responsible for reporting any change in the beneficiary’s circumstances including a change to income, resources, and whether the beneficiary leaves the country for more than 30 consecutive days.
As a result of his conviction, Rawda faces up to 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of up to 3 years. Sentencing is scheduled for February 9, 2022, before Chief United States District Judge Glenn T. Suddaby. 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.
This case was investigated by the SSA Office of the Inspector General and is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Adrian S. LaRochelle.