United States Attorney James L. Santelle, of the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that on September 23, 2013, James Allen Mereness (age: 57) of New London, Wisconsin was sentenced to 10 months in a federal prison by Chief United States District Judge William C. Griesbach. Mereness had previously pled guilty to a single count of Social Security Fraud.
According to the plea agreement and other documents filed with the court, Mereness applied for social security disability payments for his child, falsely stating that the child resided with him and that he, Mereness, was responsible for the day-to-day support of the child. In fact, the child continuously resided with his mother and had little to no contact with Mereness. Mereness continued to falsely accept payments for a period of 36 months, converting the funds for his personal use including the purchase of a new vehicle. None of the funds received were ever used for the benefit or support of the child.
In addition to the above term of imprisonment, Mereness was ordered to serve three years of supervised release. As one of the conditions of that release, he was ordered to pay restitution to the Social Security Administration in the amount of $39,866.
In sentencing the defendant, Judge Griesbach noted the serious and extended nature of the theft, as well as the need to deter others in the community from fraudulently receiving taxpayer funds intended for those truly in need of assistance.
The case was investigated by special agents from the Social Security Administration. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel R. Humble.