Human security

Elderly woman steals nearly $655,000 in Social Security and HR Admin benefits – NBC New York

A 77-year-old Bronx woman has pleaded guilty to illegally collecting more than half a million dollars in Social Security and Human Resources Administration benefits for decades — spending the majority of that money at a casino , according to prosecutors.

Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark announced Wednesday that Carmen Soto, also known by other aliases including Gloria Sanchez and Carmen Maldonado, was sentenced to five years probation. She pleaded guilty to grand larceny in the second degree on May 11.

The case stems from an investigation by the Bronx District Attorney’s Office and Inspector General’s Office which found that Soto defrauded the city’s human resources administration of $266,479.40 and l United States Social Security Administration of $388,322.24.

“This conviction should serve as a warning to those considering defrauding the Social Security Administration to receive benefits – we will hold you accountable. The Office of the Inspector General will continue its efforts to ensure that
integrity of SSA programs, which provide an essential safety net for those entitled to it,” said Sharon MacDermott, Special Agent in Charge of the Inspector General’s Office of Social Security Administration. New York Field Division, in a statement.

The investigation revealed that in 1960, Soto received three social security numbers, under the names of Carmen Soto, Gloria Sanchez and Carmen Maldonado.
Soto was endorsed in 1994 under the aliases Sanchez and Maldonado after applying for Social Security under all three names. She also obtained driver’s licenses or non-driver ID cards in all names, according to the district attorney’s office. Additionally, the investigation revealed that between November 4, 1993 and April 1, 1996, Soto applied for and received HRA benefits under multiple identities.

According to the district attorney’s office, Soto also opened two separate bank accounts and two post office boxes to receive Social Security payments. She also requested a passport obtained under her name and pseudonyms. Soto was arrested after the DMV used facial recognition software when she went to renew one of her driver’s licenses and her multiple identities came to light.

“Defendant collected money under three different names and carefully orchestrated a scheme to collect benefits to which she was not entitled. Defendant was arrested after attempting to renew her driver’s license, and the software Department of Motor Vehicle facial recognition software determined that the accused had multiple identities,” Clark said in a statement.

Apart from her five-year probation sentence, Soto was also ordered to pay compensation, which may prove difficult since she also admitted that most of the money was spent gambling in a casino.