The Inspector General for the Social Security Administration (SSA), Gail S. Ennis, has announced the sentencing of Nanette Morrow in the Northern District of Illinois, to 3 years of probation for theft of government funds, with the first 6 months to be served in community confinement. Morrow was also ordered to make restitution of $191,941 to SSA, and pay a $5,000 fine. Morrow pleaded guilty in December 2020, after an Office of the Inspector General (OIG) criminal investigation found evidence she had failed to report her mother’s death for more than 24 years.
According to a plea agreement, from 1991 to 2015, Morrow concealed that her mother, a Social Security beneficiary, was deceased. For approximately 8 years, Morrow signed her mother’s name to the benefit checks that were mailed to her home, and deposited them into a joint bank account. From 1999 to 2015, the payments went directly to their shared credit union account, and Morrow used the funds for herself. Her failure to notify SSA of her mother’s death led to SSA improperly issuing $191,941 over 24 years.
“Misusing Social Security benefits after someone dies is a Federal crime—one we will continue to aggressively pursue,” Inspector General Ennis said. “I want to thank SSA for its efforts to identify and refer this matter to us, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for its support of our investigation.”
“We must remain steadfast in our efforts to detect and prevent fraud, and I applaud the Social Security employee who identified and referred this case to OIG,” said Andrew Saul, Commissioner of Social Security. “Social Security employees play a vital role in detecting fraud, as do you. If you suspect someone of attempting to defraud the agency, I strongly urge you to report it so we can continue paying benefits only to those who are eligible.”
The SSA OIG Chicago Field Division investigated this case under the supervision of Special Agent in Charge Andrew Boockmeier. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Niranjan Emani led the prosecution.
Members of the public are encouraged to report suspected Social Security fraud to the OIG at https://oig.ssa.gov
Members of the press may make inquiries to Social Security OIG at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (410) 965-2671.