New York Woman Pleads Guilty to Theft of Social Security Funds

Date: 
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Office Affiliation: 

ROCHESTER, N.Y.-- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, J. announced today that Cynthia Cornell, 46, of Honeoye Falls, N.Y., pleaded guilty to theft of public money before Magistrate Judge Marian W. Payson. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany H. Lee, who is handling the case, stated that beginning in 1997, the defendant was the representative payee on behalf of her minor son who was receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). In August 2007, Cornell's son moved to live with his father. Cornell failed to report the change in residence of her minor son to the Social Security Administration and continued to receive her son's SSI benefits from August 2007 to April 2008. The defendant received a total of $16,924 to which she was not entitled.

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

A sentencing date has yet to be scheduled before U.S. District Judge David G. Larimer.