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Utah Man Sentenced to Home Detention After Stealing Over $100,000 in Social Security and Other Government Benefits

July 09, 2024

From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah – Melvin Roy Hunter, 71, of Salt Lake County, was ordered  by the court to 14 months’ home detention as part of a 40 months’ probation sentence, and ordered to pay $105,301.30 in restitution. 

The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Court Judge Ted Stewart after Hunter admitted to wire fraud in April 2024. Hunter fraudulently received government benefits from the Social Security Administration, and other government agencies, by assuming the identity of a deceased individual from September 2015 to September 2023.  

According to court documents and statements made at the change of plea hearing, Hunter, who is approximately the same age as the deceased, obtained the deceased’s birth certificate, Social Security number, and other personally identifiable information, and falsely obtained a Utah driver’s license in the name of the deceased. Hunter then used this assumed identity to fraudulently open a Wells Fargo checking account and obtain money from the United States. 

Hunter fraudulently received funds from the United States Social Security Administration, the United States Medicare and Medicaid programs, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the United States Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), and funding for the federal Corona Virus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

The case was investigated by the United States Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General; the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General; the Utah Department of Workforce Services; and the State Bureau of Investigation. 

Special Assistant United States Attorney Sachiko Jepson from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah prosecuted the case. 

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