New Hampshire Man Sentenced for Deceased Payee Fraud

Date: 
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Office Affiliation: 

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

CONCORD, N.H. – David Laughton, 53, of Merrimack, was sentenced on Tuesday to 12 months of home detention and three years of probation for theft of public money, announced United States Attorney Scott W. Murray.

According to court documents and statements made in court, at the time of her death in June 2005, Laughton’s mother was receiving widow’s benefits from the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) and federal pension benefits from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (“PBGC”).  After her death, SSA and PBGC continued to deposit these monthly benefits into her bank account.  Although he was not an account holder, Laughton gained access to his mother’s bank account and knew that SSA and PBGC made regular deposits to the account.  Laughton did not advise SSA or PBGC of his mother’s death.  Instead, for approximately a decade, he withdrew the money from his deceased mother’s bank account to pay for his own personal expenses.  As a result, Laughton obtained over $118,031 from SSA and over $54,376 from PBGC.     

Laughton, who pleaded guilty on June 21, 2018, was ordered to pay restitution to the Social Security Administration and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

“Social Security and pension benefits provide vital support for many individuals,” said U.S. Attorney Murray.  “However, these funds should only go to those who are entitled to receive them.  Those who try to cheat the system by stealing funds from federal benefits programs are committing a serious federal crime and will be prosecuted.”

This matter was investigated by the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General.  The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew T. Hunter.