Massachusetts Man Sentenced for $70,000 Deceased Payee Fraud

Date: 
Friday, March 4, 2016
Office Affiliation: 

From the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts:

BOSTON – A Jamaica Plain man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Boston for stealing $70,811 in Social Security benefits.

Brian Sandiford, 59, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock to one year of probation, including six months of home confinement, and ordered to pay a fine of $2,000 and restitution of $70,811 to the Social Security Administration, which he paid in full today.  In November 2015, Sandiford pleaded guilty to stealing public money.

Sandiford’s father died in 2010, but the father’s monthly Social Security benefits continued to be directly deposited into a bank account held jointly by Sandiford and his father.  Although he was not entitled to this money, Sandiford routinely transferred the Social Security money into his own bank account and then spent it.  In total, from 2010 to 2014, Sandiford took $70,811 in Social Security funds to which he was not entitled.

This case was brought as part of an ongoing effort by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in partnership with the Social Security Administration, to investigate and prosecute the posthumous fraud of Social Security benefits.  In many of these cases, family members, knowing they are not entitled to government benefits, continue to withdraw and spend the funds after a relative has died.  In the past year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has prosecuted several similar cases involving a total of more than $1 million in stolen government money. 

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Scott Antolik, Special Agent in Charge of the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today.  The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Landry of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit.