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Watertown Woman Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud

October 07, 2022

From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of New York:

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – Carrie Wetherell, 44, of Watertown, New York, pled guilty to one count of bank fraud related to her scheme to withdraw and spend the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits of a deceased relative.

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman and Sharon B. MacDermott, Special Agent in Charge of the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, New York Field Office.

As part of her guilty plea, Wetherell admitted to using her deceased relative’s identity and ATM card to withdraw SSI benefits that had been deposited into the relative’s bank account after her death. At the same time Wetherell withdrew these funds, she was also receiving Temporary Assistance and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits from the Jefferson County Department of Social Services. However, she failed to disclose the money she withdrew from her deceased relative’s account knowing that such disclosure would disqualify her from receiving those benefits. As part of her plea, Wetherell agreed to pay $85,980.05 in restitution to the Social Security Administration and the Jefferson County Department of Social Services and agreed to a forfeiture money judgment in the amount of $6,194.00.

At sentencing, currently scheduled for February 9, 2023, Wetherell faces a maximum term of imprisonment of thirty years, a fine of up to $1,000,000, and a term of supervised release of up to five years. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the statute the defendant is convicted of violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors.

This case is being investigated by the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General and is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul J. Tuck and Assistant United States Attorney Adrian S. LaRochelle.

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