New Hampshire Woman Pleads Guilty To Social Security, Food Stamp, And Wire Fraud
CONCORD, N.H. – United States Attorney Emily Gray Rice announced that Bonita Kitson, 44, of Boscawen, pleaded guilty in United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire to Social Security Fraud, Making False Statements, and Wire Fraud.
Kitson received Social Security disability benefits, Food Stamps, and Aid to the Permanently and Totally Disabled for over two years prior to her marriage in October 2010. Her husband also received Social Security disability benefits and Food Stamps before they married. Applicants for each of these benefits programs must have limited income and resources in order to qualify for assistance. The income of all members of a household is considered when determining an individual’s eligibility for Food Stamps and Aid to the Permanently Disabled.
Although they each continued to receive disability benefits and Food Stamps after they wed, neither Kitson nor her husband reported their marriage or their shared residence to Social Security or to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. To the contrary, Kitson advised both agencies that she and her husband were merely friends. The marriage was not disclosed until October 2014, when Kitson advised Social Security that her husband passed away one month earlier as part of her application for a lump-sum death benefit. As a result of this concealment, Kitson and her husband fraudulently received an additional $27,654 in disability benefits and Food Stamps, and Kitson received $1,134 in Aid to the Permanently and Totally Disabled to which she was not entitled.
Kitson is scheduled to be sentenced on July 29, 2016. The statutory maximum sentence for the charges is 20 years’ imprisonment. The court will impose a sentence after it has had an opportunity to review a presentence report prepared by the United States Probation and Pretrial Services Office and consider the advisory sentencing guidelines. Kitson was released on conditions pending sentencing.
The case was investigated by the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General in conjunction with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services’ Special Investigations Unit, and prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Karen Burzycki.