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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Nevada

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Laughlin Man Sentenced To One Year In Prison For Stealing His Deceased Mother’s Social Security Benefits

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – A Laughlin man was sentenced this morning to 12 months and one day in prison and ordered to pay $281,135 in restitution, for stealing the retirement benefits of his deceased mother for over 24 years, announced U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden for the District of Nevada.

"Our office works regularly with investigators for federal benefit programs to ensure that persons who unlawfully claim or steal Social Security, VA or other benefits are prosecuted,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “These benefit thieves cheat and steal from all Americans, and deserve to be punished.” 

Lafayette George Baida II, 71, of Laughlin, Nev., pleaded guilty last December to one count of theft of government funds, and was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Kent J. Dawson. Baida is released on bond, and must self-report to federal prison by October 10 at noon. 

“The Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General is committed to pursuing those who violate the public trust,” said Robb Stickley, the Special Agent in Charge of the San Francisco Field Division, which is responsible for the state of Nevada. “We will continue to uphold the integrity of Social Security’s benefit programs, which are a lifeline for so many Americans and their families.”

Baida’s mother was receiving Title II Retirement Benefits from the Social Security Administration until her death on March 21, 1989.  Baida did not notify the Social Security Administration of his mother’s death, and they continued to send monthly benefits to her. Baida stole the payments sent to his mother after her death by withdrawing funds at ATMs and cashing checks that were made payable to her.  Baida knew he was not entitled to the benefits. Between March 21, 1989, and Sept. 13, 2013, Baida stole a total of $281,135 from the Social Security Administration.

The case was investigated by the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn Newman.

This prosecution is part of efforts underway by President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.  President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.  The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources.  The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.  For more information about the task force visit: www.stopfraud.com.

Topic(s): 
Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud
StopFraud
Component(s): 
Updated July 12, 2016