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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Rhode Island

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 24, 2019

House Painter Admits to Stealing $186,000 in SSDI Benefits While Earning $400,000 in Wages

PROVIDENCE – A Pawtucket man who collected approximately $186,000 on Social Security disability insurance benefits while at the same time earning nearly $400,000 in wages as a house painter pleaded guilty today in federal court to fraud and theft charges.

Jose L. Gaza, 66, admitted to the Court that from July 2005 – July 2015, he worked under a fictitious name and Social Security number for a painting contractor, while fraudulently collecting a monthly Social Security disability benefit payment of approximately $1,399.

Gaza admitted to fraudulently collecting approximately $186,000 in Social Security disability benefits while earning wages totaling approximately $393,000.

Appearing before U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., Gaza pleaded guilty to Social Security Fraud and theft of government funds, announced United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman and Scott E. Antolik, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Office of the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General/Office of Investigations.

Gaza is scheduled to be sentenced on October 10, 2019.

Social Security fraud is punishable by statutory penalties of up to five years imprisonment followed by three years supervised release. Theft of government funds is punishable by statutory penalties of up to ten years imprisonment followed by three years supervised release.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Terrence P. Donnelly.

The matter was investigated by the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General/Office of Investigations.           

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Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Jim Martin (401) 709-5357
Press Release Number: 
19-94
Updated July 24, 2019