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Press Release

Melissa Ashley Sentenced for Embezzlement of $32,000 in Social Security Funds

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Vermont

The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that Melissa Ashley, 42, of Plattsburgh, New York, was sentenced today for embezzlement of Social Security funds over a three-year period.  United States District Judge Christina Reiss sentenced Ashley to time-served, restitution in the amount of $32,066.64, and three years of supervised release.

According to court records, from at least 2010 to 2017, Ashley was the designated representative payee for receipt of Supplemental Security Income on behalf of her minor daughter.  As representative payee, Ashley was obligated to use the SSI funds for the support and care of her daughter.  In January 2014, Ashley’s daughter was removed from her care and taken into the custody of the Vermont Department of Children and Families.  Ashley’s daughter eventually moved into a foster home, and never returned to Ashley’s custody.  Nevertheless, Ashley did not inform the Social Security Administration that her daughter was no longer in her care, and continued to receive SSI benefits for the next three years.     

This matter was investigated by the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General. 

The government was represented by First Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin J. Doyle.  Ashley was represented by Steven L. Barth of the Federal Defender’s Office.

Updated July 18, 2019

Financial Fraud