Canby Man Sentenced to Prison for Stealing More Than $294,000 in Social Security Benefits
PORTLAND, Ore. – On Wednesday, September 7, 2016, the grandson of a deceased Social Security beneficiary was sentenced to prison for stealing more than $294,000 of benefits mistakenly paid to his grandmother following her death. Ricky Lee Carlson, 63, pled guilty to theft of government funds in May, and was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Marco A. Hernandez to 12 months and one day in prison.
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 opened a bank account 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. When SSA discovered the theft, only $9,518 remained in the account.
Carlson was ordered to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons to begin his sentence on January 17, 2017. The court also ordered him to pay restitution to SSA for the full amount of benefits stolen, and to serve a three-year term of supervised release.
The case was investigated by the SSA Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations, and was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Helen Cooper as part of a partnership venture between the SSA Seattle Region, SSA Office of the General Counsel, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland, Oregon.