From the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey:
CAMDEN, N.J. – A Burlington County, New Jersey, man today admitted stealing his disabled brother’s Social Security benefits, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Steven Mitchell, 43, of Marlton, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Jerome B. Simandle in Camden federal court to an information charging him with one count of theft of government funds.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Mitchell admitted that prior to 2010 his brother was receiving Disabled Adult Child Survivor benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). After the death of their mother in 2009, Mitchell became the representative payee with the SSA for his disabled brother in 2010. Mitchell acknowledged that the SSA funds were to be used to pay for his brother’s care at a facility run by the N.J. Division of Developmental Disabilities. Mitchell was supposed to provide Prince Association for the Developmentally Disabled, which is part of the N.J. Division of Developmental Disabilities, with 75 percent of his brother’s survivor benefits to pay for his brother’s care and maintenance at the facility.
While Mitchell was the representative payee, the SSA paid benefits into his brother’s bank account. Mitchell admitted that instead of paying for his brother’s care, he accessed his bank account by making withdrawals and used that money to pay for his personal expenses, including utilities, food, and car payments. Mitchell admitted that from February 2010 to April 2017, he collected $110,495 to which he was not entitled.
The charge to which Mitchell pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 15, 2018.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the SSA Office of Inspector General with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Senior Litigation Counsel Jason M. Richardson of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Meriah Russell of the U.S. Attorney's Office Criminal Division in Trenton.
Defense counsel: Maggie Moy Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Camden