David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that MARIA LOPEZ, also known as Maria Colon, 69, of Goddard Avenue, Bridgeport, pleaded guilty yesterday before United States District Judge Mark R. Kravitz in New Haven to one count of theft of government property stemming from her illegal receipt of more than $93,000 in Social Security Disability benefits.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in 1993, LOPEZ, while using the name Maria Colon, began to receive Social Security Disability Income benefits after it was determined that she was disabled and unable to work. In 1994, LOPEZ went back to work using the name Maria Lopez, but still collected the disability income benefits that she was no longer eligible to receive. Between 1994 and 2009, LOPEZ received a total of $93,358 in government benefits to which she was not entitled.
Judge Kravitz has scheduled sentencing for July 16, 2012, at which time LOPEZ faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000. LOPEZ also will be ordered to pay full restitution to the government.
This matter has been investigated by the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael E. Runowicz.