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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Jury Convicts Albany Man of Stealing Government Property

Defendant found guilty of stealing Social Security benefits totaling over $76,000

ALBANY, NEW YORK – A jury today voted to convict John E. Szumigata, age 69, of Albany, of theft of government property, for stealing Social Security benefits deposited into his deceased mother’s bank account.

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

The jury reached a verdict after a two-day trial.  Szumigata faces a maximum of 10 years of imprisonment and up to 3 years of post-imprisonment supervised release.  He may also be ordered to pay restitution to the SSA.  Senior United States District Judge Gary L. Sharpe is scheduled to sentence Szumigata on September 26, 2016.  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. 

Szumigata’s mother died in October 1999, but Szumigata continued to withdraw more than $76,000 in Social Security benefits deposited in her account from the time of her death until September 2012.  Szumigata used the Social Security benefits to write checks to himself, pay personal expenses, and transfer money to businesses that he owned. 

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

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Updated June 1, 2016