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Justice News

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Canby Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing More than $300,000 in Social Security Benefits

PORTLAND, Ore. – The grandson of a deceased Social Security beneficiary admitted to stealing more than $300,000 of benefits mistakenly paid to his grandmother following her death.  Ricky Lee Carlson, 63, pled guilty to theft of government funds before U.S. District Court Judge Marco Hernandez on Monday, and admitted he committed the theft over a course of 27 years. 

According to court records, Carlson’s grandmother was using two different names and Social Security numbers at the time of her death in 1986.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) was notified of the death under one identity, but her benefits continued to be paid each month under the other identity.  In April 1995, Carlson caused a bank account to be opened in his grandmother’s name, and directed SSA to deposit her benefits into that account.  Carlson then converted the funds to his own use by writing checks payable to himself, paying bills, and making ATM withdrawals.  Between March 1986 and December 2013, Social Security benefits in the amount of $303,960.60 were improperly paid on the grandmother’s behalf.

According to the plea agreement, Carlson is agreeing to serve 12 months and one day in jail, although the actual sentence will be determined by Judge Hernandez.  Carlson’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for September 7, 2016.

The case was investigated by the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations.  The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Helen Cooper as part of a partnership venture between the Seattle Region, SSA Office of the General Counsel and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland, Oregon.

Updated May 24, 2016