California Woman Pleads Guilty to $114,000 Deceased Payee Fraud

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
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From the U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. —Vincene R. Jones, 69, of Sacramento, pleaded guilty today to theft of government property, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

According to court documents, Jones’s mother received Social Security retirement benefits beginning in 1988. Jones and her mother held a joint bank account where the Social Security Administration deposited the mother’s monthly benefits. The mother was entitled to these benefits until her death on August 16, 1999. Jones did not report her mother’s death to SSA, and SSA continued to deposit the mother’s benefit funds to the joint account from September 1999 to January 2014. Over this 14-year period, SSA paid approximately $114,796 to the joint account. During this period, Jones maintained control of the account and stole the Social Security benefits for her own use. Jones did this knowing she was not entitled to the benefits and that doing so would prevent SSA from using or benefitting from the money.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Office of Inspector General, Social Security Administration. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert J. Artuz is prosecuting the case.

Jones is scheduled to be sentenced on January 8, 2019, by U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez. Jones faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.