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Press Release

Buffalo Woman Pleads Guilty to Theft of Government Funds

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of New York

    BUFFALO, N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Bernice Robinson, 79, of Buffalo, N.Y., pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie G. Foschio to theft of public money. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen A. Lynch, who is handling the case, stated that between October 1998 and April 2011, the defendant fraudulently collected $101,150.95 in benefits from the Social Security Administration. Robinson began collecting Social Security benefits as a widow in 1992 following the death of her first husband. In 1998, using a false name and birth certificate, the defendant applied for and began to receive an additional set of supplemental benefits.

In March 2001, Robinson again began collecting widow benefits following the death of her second husband. In August 2010, the defendant began to receive social security retirement benefits using a false name and social security number.  

The plea is the result of an investigation on the part of the United States Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Edward J. Ryan.

Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.
Updated November 24, 2014