Louisiana Woman Pleads Guilty to $50,000 Deceased Payee Fraud

Date: 
Thursday, August 31, 2017
Office Affiliation: 

From the U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Louisiana:

 

BATON ROUGE, LA – Acting United States Attorney Corey R. Amundson announced today that DORIS S. PITCHER, age 66, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, pled guilty yesterday before U.S. District Judge James J. Brady to theft of government funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641. As a result of her conviction, PITCHER faces a potential prison term of up to ten years as well as restitution.

 

PITCHER’s mother received monthly Retirement Survivor Insurance (“RSI”) benefit payments from the United States Social Security Administration (“SSA”). In approximately 1989, PITCHER became the authorized payee of these benefit payments on behalf of her mother. As the authorized payee, PITCHER was supposed to use the funds to assist in paying for her mother’s food, housing, clothing, medical expenses, personal items, and other expenses. Another of PITCHER’s responsibilities was to inform SSA when her mother died so that they could terminate the benefit payments.

 

In May 2000, PITCHER’s mother died; however, PITCHER did not notify the SSA about her death. Instead, from approximately 2000 through 2015, the defendant continued to receive the monthly RSI benefit payments in Baton Rouge on behalf of her mother. The monthly payments from the SSA ranged from $244 to $296 per month. In total, the defendant received $49,863 on behalf of her mother, after her mother’s death.

 

Acting U.S. Attorney Amundson stated: “Federal benefit fraud continues to be a tremendous problem in the United States. When criminals steal funds intended for legitimate purposes, their conduct victimizes not only our federal agencies but also all taxpayers. Our office will continue to work in conjunction with the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General to aggressively identify and prosecute defendants like this who mistakenly believe that their theft of government money will go undetected.”

 

This investigation was handled by the United States Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney J. Brady Casey.