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Social Security Fraud Leads To Federal Prison Time

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 WILMINGTON, Del. – David C. Weiss, U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced that a Wilmington woman was sentenced today to 5 months in federal prison for defrauding the U.S. Social Security Administration (“SSA”) of more than $200,000 over the past fifteen years.  Chief Judge Leonard P. Stark of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware pronounced the sentence.

According to court documents, Susan DiFelice, 63, spent over a decade collecting fraudulent Social Security benefits that were intended for a deceased beneficiary. In 2005, a family friend of DiFelice’s died. Because DiFelice was a joint user on her deceased friend’s bank account, she knew that the SSA continued to deposit more than $1,000 into his account each month. As the informant on the death certificate, DiFelice also knew that she was required to notify relevant authorities, including the SSA, of the death. Instead, however, DiFelice withdrew the SSA funds and used them for her own personal expenses.

U.S. Attorney Weiss stated, “Ms. DiFelice’s criminal conduct lasted for fifteen years, undermining SSA’s mission to provide for the vulnerable among us.  I commend the SSA Office of the Inspector General for their steadfast commitment to ensuring justice in this case.” 

“This sentence stands as a warning to those who violate the public trust by misusing Social Security benefits after someone dies,” said Gail S. Ennis, Inspector General for the Social Security Administration. “Our auditors and criminal investigators work side by side, and with SSA and other agencies, to identify those who fail to report deaths for personal gain. I want to thank the United States Attorney’s Office for its efforts to bring this individual to justice.”

The SSA Office of the Inspector General investigated this case under the supervision of Special Agent in Charge Michael McGill, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Howland prosecuted.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the District of Delaware or on PACER by searching for Case No. 20-CR-48-LPS.


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