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Ohio Woman Charged with Deceased Payee Fraud

November 13, 2018

Office Affiliation: The Office of Investigations

From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Ohio:

A Canton woman was indicted today with theft of government funds, said Justin E. Herdman, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

JoAnne C. Comstock, 45, fraudulently converted for her own use her uncle’s Title II Retirement Insurance benefits after her uncle passed away. The Social Security Administration was not made aware of the death and continued to pay benefits to a joint account held by Comstock and her late uncle. For nearly four years, Comstock withdrew over $28,000 in federal benefits from the account for which she was not entitled, according to the indictment. 

Special Agent Manuel Muniz from the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General conducted the investigation.  Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Payum Doroodian is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, the Court will determine the defendant’s sentence after a review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense, and the characteristics of the violation.  In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum.  In most cases, it will be less than the maximum.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

A Canton woman was indicted today with theft of government funds, said Justin E. Herdman, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

JoAnne C. Comstock, 45, fraudulently converted for her own use her uncle’s Title II Retirement Insurance benefits after her uncle passed away. The Social Security Administration was not made aware of the death and continued to pay benefits to a joint account held by Comstock and her late uncle. For nearly four years, Comstock withdrew over $28,000 in federal benefits from the account for which she was not entitled, according to the indictment. 

Special Agent Manuel Muniz from the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General conducted the investigation.  Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Payum Doroodian is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, the Court will determine the defendant’s sentence after a review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense, and the characteristics of the violation.  In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum.  In most cases, it will be less than the maximum.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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