Long Gone, But Not Forgotten


When a loved one dies, those left behind typically respond in different ways to keep the memory of the deceased alive. Some people join a grief support group, organize a drive to benefit a favored charity, or visit their loved one’s grave each year to place flowers. Today, we look at a daughter and a granddaughter from Sacramento, California who remembered their beloved mother and grandmother each month when her Social Security benefits were deposited into a joint checking account. They committed Social Security fraud by collecting approximately $247,933 in Social Security benefits for 17 years after their loved one died.

According to today’s article, the granddaughter neglected to report her grandmother’s death in 2001. (She continued to deposit the monthly Social Security benefit checks for an additional 16 years after her grandmother’s death.) However, she did make a call to the Social Security Administration (SSA) in 2015, posing as her grandmother, to update the address where the benefit checks were sent. (Oh, and she also forged her dead granny’s signature.)

The deceased woman’s daughter is also in trouble for using her mother’s Social Security benefits for 27 years – from 1987 to 2014. (The daughter used $247,236 in benefits that did not belong to her.) While the SSA is making progress on updating their Death Alert system, today’s mother and daughter duo were able to take advantage of the agency’s antiquated system to evade detection.

Together, the two Sacramento women in this case have pleaded guilty to committing Social Security fraud by stealing benefits totaling nearly half a million dollars. The 75-year-old daughter and 42-year-old granddaughter are facing a maximum penalty of a decade in prison and a $250,000 fine. (I’m pretty sure that while the illegal acts of this duo are now gone, they will not be forgotten by the criminal justice system.)

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, Two Sacramento women plead guilty to stealing Social Security benefits,” published by The Sacramento Bee on September 10, 2018.

Two Sacramento women have pleaded guilty to stealing Social Security benefits totaling nearly $500,000, according to press releases from the U.S. District Court.

Toni Teresi, 75, and Shonda Mayshack, 42, both of Sacramento, pleaded guilty in separate cases to theft of government property, the releases said.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.