Essex County, New Jersey, Man Admits Social Security Fraud
NEWARK, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey, man today admitted defrauding the Social Security Administration (SSA) of more than $200,000, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Fernando Solaris, 63, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares in Newark federal court to a superseding information charging him with Social Security disability fraud and theft of government property.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
After immigrating to the United States in 1970, Solaris applied for, and received, three Social Security numbers (SSNs). He did so by slightly altering the personal information he provided on the application for each new SSN. In March 2002, using one of his SSNs, Solaris began receiving Supplemental Social Security Income and Disability benefits by claiming that he had constant pain in his back and left leg, which precluded him from working. He did not disclose to authorities that he had two additional Social Security numbers.
From 2002 through 2012, Solaris used two other Social Security cards to sporadically maintain employment in New Jersey while continuing to receive supplemental income and disability benefits. Solaris defrauded the SSA of $221,364 in Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB).
The count of Social Security fraud is punishable by a maximum of five years in prison, the count of theft of government property is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison; each count is punishable by a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross amount of any pecuniary gain by the defendant or loss to any victims, whichever is greatest. Sentencing is scheduled for June 4, 2019.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge John F. Grasso in New York, with the investigation leading to the guilty plea.
The government is represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Perry Farhat of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Public Protection Unit in Newark.
Defense counsel: Kevin Carlucci Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark