On Monday, November 6, 2017, it was announced that a man from San Diego, California had been sentenced to federal prison for stealing Social Security retirement benefits belonging to his father, who passed away in 1997. Abel Jose Perez was sentenced to twelve months and one day in federal prison for stealing $271,925.60 in Social Security retirement benefits.
Perez pled guilty and admitted that he never informed the Social Security Administration of his father’s death. Instead, he continued taking the benefits that were deposited into a bank account belonging to his deceased parents. After each deposit, Perez would forge his father’s signature on a bank check to himself and used the funds for his own personal use.
The Social Security Administration pays retirement benefits to eligible workers aged 62 or older, as well as their eligible dependents. Windows and minor children can sometimes receive posthumous benefits. However, 55-year-old Perez knew he was not entitled to receive any Social Security benefits after his father’s death. Perez pleaded guilty on May 17, 2017.
He admitted that he carried out the scheme for over sixteen years and illegally converted more than a quarter-million-dollars of public money for his own personal use. In addition to the twelve months and one day in prison, Perez has also been ordered to repay every dollar he stole from the Social Security Administration. More details can be found here.