Connecticut Woman Pleads Guilty to Stealing Social Security Benefits

Date: 
Thursday, October 3, 2019
Office Affiliation: 

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

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that OMAYRA SANTIAGO, 43, of Waterbury, waived her right to be indicted and pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall in New Haven to one count of theft and conversion of public money related to her illegal receipt of Social Security benefits.

According to court documents and statements made in court, for approximately 13 years, Santiago received monthly Social Security benefits from the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) in the form of Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”).  Santiago was the representative payee of her children’s SSI benefits, and she represented to the SSA that her household’s income, resources and living arrangements caused the children to be eligible for SSI benefits.

In pleading guilty, Santiago admitted that, from 2005 to 2018, she made multiple false statements to the SSA, including misrepresentations of her income, resources and living arrangements, in order to qualify for and receive SSI benefits.  In addition, in January 2017, Santiago received approximately $220,000 from the settlement of civil lawsuit, but never disclosed her receipt of the money to the SSA.

Between 2005 and 2018, Santiago collected more than $146,752.86 worth of SSI benefits.

Judge Hall scheduled sentencing for December 30, 2019, at which time Santiago faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years.

This matter is being investigated by the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Margaret M. Donovan.