Pittsburgh Man Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Social Security

Date: 
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Office Affiliation: 

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

PITTSBURGH, PA - A resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of theft of government money, Social Security fraud, and Social Security representative payee misuse, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

John Robert Mahoney, age 53, of pleaded guilty to four counts before United States District Judge Cathy Bissoon.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Mahoney applied to the Social Security Administration (SSA) be the representative payee for his minor child and receive Social Security Title II survivor benefits and Title XVI Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits on her behalf. As a representative payee, Mahoney was required to report to the SSA if his child left his household and was required to use SSA funds for the child’s benefit or save them.

In October 2015, Mahoney’s child was removed from his custody, and he failed to report the removal to the SSA as required. Mahoney continued to receive Title XVI payments on behalf of the child until December 2017 and Title II payments until April 2018. He also submitted a Representative Payee Report to SSA in which he falsely stated that the child had resided with him the prior year. Mahoney used money he received from SSA to pay his rent rather than for the child’s benefit. The overpayment by the SSA to Mahoney was $22,611.62.

Judge Bissoon scheduled sentencing for March 9, 2021. For the offense of theft of government money, the law provides for a maximum sentence of not more than 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. For each offense of Social Security fraud and Social Security representative payee misuse, the law provides for a maximum sentence of not more than five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney David Lew is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The U.S. Social Security Administration – Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.