Massachusetts Man Pleads Guilty to $70,000 Deceased Payee Fraud

Date: 
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Office Affiliation: 

From the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts:

BOSTON – A Milton man pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Boston to stealing more than $70,000 in Social Security benefits.

Brian Sandiford, 58, pleaded guilty to stealing public money.  Sandiford was charged in an Information in August 2015.  U.S. District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock scheduled sentencing for March 3, 2016.

Sandiford’s father died in 2010, but his monthly Social Security benefits continued to be directly deposited into a bank account held jointly by Sandiford and his father.  Although he was not entitled to this money, Sandiford routinely transferred the Social Security money into his own bank account and then spent it.  In total, from 2010 to 2014, Sandiford took $70,811 in Social Security funds to which he was not entitled.

This case was brought as part of an ongoing effort by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in partnership with the Social Security Administration, to investigate and prosecute the posthumous fraud of Social Security benefits.  In many of these cases, family members, knowing they are not entitled to government benefits, continue to withdraw and spend the funds after a relative has died.  In the past year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has prosecuted several similar cases involving a total of more than $1 million in stolen government money:

In June 2015, Patricia Kwiatkowski, of Upton, was sentenced for stealing $128,101 from Social Security from 2006 to 2014.

In April 2015, Graeme Griffith, of Andover, was sentenced for stealing $149,285 from Social Security from 2003 to 2014.

Also in April 2015, Frances Kenney Moseley, of Boston, was sentenced for stealing $222,172 from Social Security from 2003 to 2010.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Scott Antolik, Special Agent in Charge of Social Security Administration Office, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today.  The Sandiford case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Landry of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit.