Rochester Man Pleads Guilty To Stealing Thousands Of Dollars In SSI and SNAP Benefits
CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Mensur Odzakovic, 49, of Rochester, NY, pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci to wire fraud. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years prison and a fine of $250,000.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle P. Rossi, who is handling the case, stated that between 2007 and March 2020, the defendant fraudulently collected Social Security Income (SSI) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamp) benefits. The SSI and SNAP programs use federal tax money to assist low-income and disabled individuals by providing supplemental income and funds for the purchase of food, among other things. Odzakovic claimed in government applications that he was not employed and had no source of income in order to collect SSI and SNAP benefits. However, the defendant was continuously employed at a Rochester area restaurant earning cash wages. If reported, Odzakovic’s wages would have disqualified him from receiving SSI and SNAP benefits or would have reduced the amount of benefits that he could have received.
As a result, between 2007 and March 1, 2020, the defendant unlawfully collected $53,315.14 in SSI payments and $32,986.00 in SNAP benefits, for a total of $86,301.14.
The plea is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent-in Charge Bethanne M. Dinkins; the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge, John F. Grasso; and the Monroe County Department of Social Services, under the direction of Commissioner Corinda Crossdale.
Sentencing is scheduled for July 29, 2021, before Judge Geraci.
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