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Cleveland Woman Sentenced to Prison for Stealing Pension Benefits and Defrauding Government Programs

January 05, 2023

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

CLEVELAND – Diane A. Mason, 52, of Cleveland, Ohio, was sentenced on Jan. 4, 2023, to two years in prison by U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Gaughan after she pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft.

According to court documents, between January 2017 and October 2020, Mason stole $72,476 in Social Security Retirement Insurance benefits and $40,143.60 in monthly pension benefits from the Xerox Corporation, which were intended to be paid to another individual who had died.

Court documents state that Mason then devised a scheme to steal these benefits from the deceased’s bank accounts for her own use by impersonating the deceased to others on numerous occasions and obtaining a replacement debit card in the name of the deceased. At the same time, court documents show that since 2017, Mason received public housing and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

In order to be eligible to receive benefits, Mason was required to report any and all income to the Cuyahoga County Department of Job and Family Services (CCDJFS) and the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA). Court documents show that Mason falsely stated that she received no income in order to qualify for these benefits when, in fact, she had been stealing Social Security and pension benefits.

In total, Mason stole $17,021 in SNAP benefits and $19,123.60 in public housing benefits.

In addition to the prison sentence, Judge Gaughan ordered Mason to pay a total of $165,606.20 in restitution.

This case was investigated by the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General (SSA OIG), United States Department of Labor (DOL), Employee Benefits Security Administration, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

This case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Jason W. White.

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