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Former Federal Officer Sentenced for Stealing Social Security Benefits

February 09, 2022

From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Florida:

Miami, Florida – On January 31, 2022, a former federal law enforcement officer was sentenced for stealing over $75,000 in social security benefits paid to his deceased father while serving as a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Officer in Miami.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Carlos Avila, 54, of Pembroke Pines, was collecting and receiving Social Security Retirement Insurance Benefits for his father, who died in Ecuador in 2010. Because the Social Security Administration was unaware that Avila’s father died, the benefit payments did not stop. Over the course of the next nine years, Avila controlled his deceased father’s bank account so that Avila could continue to withdraw the monthly overpayment of benefits that the SSA intended for his father while he was alive. Even after a temporary payment freeze due to internal checks that indicated Avila’s father was no longer alive, Avila again updated his father’s bank account address seven years after his death and caused the SSA to release a back payment of $22,074, which Avila quickly spent. Avila was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment (home confinement), one year of probation, and mandatory restitution.

U.S. Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez for the Southern District of Florida and Special Agent in Charge Rodregas W. Owens of the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General (SSA-OIG), Atlanta Field Division made the announcement.

U.S. Attorney Gonzalez commended the work of the SSA-OIG. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Trevor Jones. Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Brown is handling asset forfeiture.

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