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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 22, 2018

Merrimack Man Pleads Guilty to Theft of Public Money

            CONCORD - David Laughton, 52, of Merrimack, pleaded guilty in federal court to two counts of theft of public money, announced United States Attorney Scott W. Murray.

            According to court documents and statements made in court, at the time of her death in June 2005, Laughton's mother was receiving widow’s benefits from the Social Security Administration ("SSA") and federal pension benefits from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC"), a wholly-owned United States government corporation.  After her death, SSA and PBGC continued to deposit these monthly benefits into her bank account.  Though he was not an account holder, Laughton gained access to his mother's bank account and knew that SSA and PBGC made regular deposits to the account.  However, Laughton did not advise SSA or PBGC that they were making erroneous payments to his deceased mother and instead, for over a decade, he withdrew the money from the account to pay for his own personal expenses.  As a result, Laughton converted approximately $118,031 in Social Security benefits and $54,376 in federal pension benefits to his own use.          

            Laughton is scheduled to be sentenced on September 28, 2018.

            “Federal benefit programs serve an important purpose,” said U.S. Attorney Murray.  “We work closely with our law enforcement partners to identify instances of fraud and abuse in these programs to ensure that these benefits only go to those who are entitled to receive them.”

          Special Agent in Charge Scott Antolik said:  Protecting the Social Security Trust Fund is one of my office’s highest priorities.  I thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their partnership in prosecuting those who seek to defraud the government”.  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."

          This matter was investigated by the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General.  The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew T. Hunter and Karen B. Burzycki.

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Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
18-114
Updated June 22, 2018