A federal court jury in Providence on Tuesday convicted a Providence woman of making false statements regarding her marital status in order to collect more than $47,000 in widower’s benefits from the Social Security Administration following the death of her former husband, announced United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha and Scott E. Antolik, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston field office of the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General/Office of Investigations.
Sandra Money, 68, was found guilty of one count each of false statement to a government agency and theft of government funds. Money faces statutory penalties of up to 15 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $500,000 when she is sentenced by U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith on May 18, 2015.
According to the government’s evidence presented at trial, on October 19, 2011, Sandra Money telephoned the Providence office of the Social Security Administration to apply for widower’s benefits, reporting that her husband, Thomas Money, passed away in March 2011. She stated that she was married to Thomas Money since June 28, 1986, and that their marriage ended at the time of his death in March 2011.
Following the completion of the telephone application, a written notice was sent to the defendant setting forth that the information provided in the telephone application was true. The notice directed the defendant to contact the Social Security Administration within 10 days if she disagreed with any of the information contained in the notice. The defendant did not contact the Social Security Administration to dispute the information contained in the notice.
Government records show that every month, between December 2011 until January 2014, the U.S. Treasury electronically deposited between $1,837 and $1,903 into a bank account belonging to Sandra Money. In total, the U.S. Treasury deposited more than $47,000 into Ms. Money’s account.
Based on information developed at a later date by Social Security Administration agents, it was determined that Sandra Money and Thomas Money were not married at the time of Mr. Money’s death. R.I. Family Court records show that a Judgment of Divorce was entered on July 24, 1990, based on a complaint filed by Sandra Money.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Zechariah Chafee.