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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of West Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Jackson County Man Sentenced For Theft Of Government Benefits

Charleston, W.Va. – Michael W. Smith, 36, of Sandyville, Jackson County, West Virginia, was sentenced to five years’ probation following his guilty plea to theft of government benefits, United States Attorney Booth Goodwin announced today.  Smith was also ordered to repay $10,110 to the federal government. 

In October 2008, Smith began receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits on behalf of his uncle, James Conrad, as Conrad’s representative payee.  A representative payee is a person who agrees to receive SSI benefits on behalf of the intended recipient.  When Conrad died on April 29, 2009, Smith’s right to receive benefits on behalf of his uncle terminated. Smith continued, however, to receive and cash SSI payments intended for his deceased uncle from May 2009 to July 2010. These payments totaled $10,110. In March 2011, Smith admitted his theft to agents of the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General (SSA OIG). 

The SSA OIG conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Erik S. Goes handled the prosecution. The sentence was handed down by United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr.

Updated January 7, 2015