North Carolina Man Charged with Stealing Nephew's Identity to Collect Federal Benefits

Wednesday, September 12, 2012
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ATLANTA - Larry Senior, 57, of Charlotte, North Carolina, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft in connection with Senior’s alleged use of his nephew’s identity to receive federal benefits.

United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “Identity theft is a serious crime that can impact victims for years.  Oftentimes, the victims of identity theft are haunted by negative information contained in credit reports and public records for a lifetime.”

“Assuming the identity of another to commit fraud, unfortunately, is a common occurrence,” said Guy Fallen, Special Agent-in-Charge, Social Security Administration-Office of the Inspector General.  “SSA-OIG special agents are well-trained to detect, investigate, and locate identity thieves, and my office in concert with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, will investigate and prosecute those who commit identity theft and defraud Social Security trust funds.”

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: Senior fraudulently assumed the identity of his nephew nearly three decades ago and obtained a Social Security card, drivers licenses, credit cards, and health insurance cards.  Senior applied for and received $23,000 in Social Security benefits and $27,000 in Medicare benefits to which he was not entitled.

The indictment charges three counts of theft of government funds and two counts of aggravated identity theft.  Each count of theft of government funds carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.  Additionally, each count of aggravated identity theft carries a 2 years consecutive term of imprisonment.  In determining the actual sentence, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.

This case is being investigated by the Social Security Administration-Office of the Inspector General.

Special Assistant United States Attorney Loranzo M. Fleming is prosecuting the case.

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment contains only allegations.  A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government's burden to prove a defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.