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Press Release

Kittanning Woman Gave False Information to Social Security to Continue Receiving Benefits

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

PITTSBURGH – An Armstrong County resident pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of making false statements to the Social Security Administration, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Sona Marie Murphy, 38, of Kittanning, Pa., pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge Nora Barry Fischer.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that on July 30, 2012, in order to ensure continued receipt of disability insurance payments, Murphy submitted a signed statement to the Social Security Administration falsely reporting that she was not working, did not have wages or self-employment income, and had not worked since 2009. The Social Security Administration - Office of Inspector General gathered evidence, however, establishing that Murphy had worked as a waitress at the Burrell Inn, located in Lower Burrell, Pa., as well as owned and was operating a catering business, most recently doing business as Sweet Pea's Catering and Sweets and "Every Day is an Occasion."

Judge Fischer scheduled sentencing for June 16, 2016, at 9:30 a.m. The law provides for a total sentence of five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Pending sentencing, the court allowed Murphy to remain on bond.

Assistant United States Attorney Carolyn J. Bloch is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Social Security Administration - Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Murphy.

Updated February 24, 2016