Rochester Man Pleads Guilty in Connection with COVID-19 Fraud, Identify Theft, and Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material
CONCORD – Brett Gessay, 55, of Exeter, was sentenced to six months of home detention and two years of probation and was ordered to pay full restitution to the Social Security Administration for making a false statement in order to obtain Social Security benefits, announced United States Attorney Scott W. Murray.
According to public records in the case, Gessay began receiving Social Security disability benefits in January 2007. Beginning in at least January of 2008, Gessay was self-employed as a construction worker. His income from this job rendered him ineligible to get most of the Social Security disability benefits that he received while he was self-employed. Gessay did not report this work activity to the Social Security Administration (SSA), and concealed his self-employment and self-employment income from the SSA. In mid-2016, Gessay admitted to investigators that he had concealed his work and income from the SSA in order to continue receiving disability benefits. As a result of his concealment, Gessay received over $48,000 in disability benefits that he was not entitled to receive.
“Federal benefit programs exist for those who truly need them,” said U.S. Attorney Murray. “Those who use fraud to cheat the system are defrauding federal taxpayers and undermining the integrity of the system. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to identify and prosecute those who seek to defraud federal benefit programs.”
Special Agent in Charge Scott Antolik from the SSA Office of the Inspector General said, “This sentencing should serve as a warning to people who choose to selfishly defraud Social Security’s disability programs. We would also like to thank the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Special Investigations Unit for its assistance with this investigation. I strongly encourage the public to report suspected instances of Social Security fraud to the OIG’s Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271 or https://oig.ssa.gov/report.”
The case was investigated by the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General, New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Special Investigations Unit, and prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew T. Hunter and Karen B. Burzycki.