Brooklyn – Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes, Human Resources Administration Commissioner Robert Doar, and Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Ryan, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations, Social Security Administration, today announced the indictment of Luis Lizandro, charged with stealing a dead man’s identity and, for 13 years, using it to fraudulently collect more than $680,000 in Medicaid and Social Security benefits.
District Attorney Hynes said, “Those who steal from people who legitimately need these resources are in effect stealing from all of us, and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
"Unscrupulous individuals commit egregious acts in an attempt to undermine the integrity of vital public benefits programs like Medicaid and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps)," said HRA Commissioner Robert Doar. "Fortunately, thanks to the meticulous work of our agency's fraud investigators and the commitment of law enforcement officials like Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes and his team, New York City prosecutes these individuals to the full extent of the law.”
Special Agent Ryan said, “This investigation demonstrates the seriousness with which the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General SSA/OIG, responds to allegations of fraud against our agency and its recipients. SSA/OIG is not only committed to protecting the Social Security trust fund and the integrity of the programs, but to anyone who by means of deceit, fraudulently obtains government funds deemed for the most vulnerable in our society. We are pleased with the efforts of the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in this successful prosecution.”
The indictment charges that Lizandro, a Panamanian national, stole the identity of an American citizen, Bobby Standifer, Jr., who died in Panama in 1994 and used it to obtain a United States passport. Lizandro used the passport to travel to the US in 1997, and in 2000, applied for Medicaid, Social Security Benefits and Foodstamps, in Standifer’s name, according to the indictment. Over the next 13 years, Lizandro collected more than $600,000 in Medicaid benefits, $60,000 in Social Security payments and $8,000 in Foodstamp benefits, according to the indictment.
Charges against Lizandro include Identity Theft in the First Degree, Welfare Fraud in the Second Degree, Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, and Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree. If convicted of the top count, Welfare Fraud in the Second Degree, he faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.
The case was investigated by agents from the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General.
For KCDA, the case was investigated by Supervising Detective Investigator Glenn Kenny. Detective Investigator Ismael Zayas made the arrest. George Terra is Assistant Chief Investigator. Joseph Ponzi is Chief Rackets Investigator.
The case is being prosecuted by Joel H. Greenwald, of the Public Assistance Crimes Unit. Lauren Mack is Chief of the Public Assistance Crimes Unit.
Contact: Jonah Bruno