From the U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York:
BINGHAMTON, NEW YORK – Patricia L. Williams, age 61, of Binghamton, New York, was arraigned Friday on charges that she unlawfully received the Social Security benefits of her deceased husband, and also failed to disclose that income in order to receive Supplemental Security Income benefits.
The announcement was made by Acting United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and John F. Grasso, Special Agent In Charge of the Social Security Administration (SSA) Office of the Inspector General, New York Field Office.
The indictment alleges that from May 2005 through December 2013, Williams withdrew monthly Social Security benefit payments from the bank account of her deceased husband, who had died in 1990. The indictment also alleges that Williams failed to disclose her receipt of those benefit payments to SSA and unlawfully collected Supplemental Security Income benefits as a result. Supplemental Security Income would have been available to her only if she fell below a certain income threshold, and her unlawful receipt of her husband’s Social Security benefits put her over that threshold.
The charges in the indictment are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Williams faces up to 10 years in prison, 3 years of post-imprisonment supervised release and a $250,000 fine if convicted on all counts of the indictment. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors.
Williams was arraigned Friday in Binghamton before United States Magistrate Judge Andrew T. Baxter. She was released with conditions pending a trial scheduled before Senior United States District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy.
This case is being investigated by the SSA Office of the Inspector General and is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason W. White.