CINCINNATI (WCPO) – Two Ohioans have been charged with collecting more than $300,000 in Social Security benefits in the names of their dead mothers, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Curtis Joash, 73, of Cincinnati collected nearly $188,000 since his mother’s death in 1990 and Dolores Stacy, 70, of Hamilton, collected nearly $121,000 since her mother died in 2005, according to criminal complaints.
Joash and Stacy were caught through the Social Security Administration's Medicare Non-Utilization Project, according to criminal complaints. The SSA investigates beneficiaries over 90 who have not used their Medicare benefits in at least three years.
“Frequently, people who fit those criteria are deceased,” said the complaint filed by a SSA special agent.
Joash admitted his guilt in an interview with the special agent on July 11, his criminal complaint said. In a written statement, Joash said he had spent all the money.
“It was my fault. I am sorry for this. All the money that came in I spent all of it."
Both defendants were co-signatory on their mother’s savings or checking account, allowing them to withdraw the Social Security money each month, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
A crackdown statewide resulted in charges in eight separate Social Security fraud and other benefits cases in Ohio this month. The total in those cases was more than $796,000.
From early 2016 to date, Special Assistant United States Attorneys around the country have secured more than 300 federal convictions, leading to judicial orders for more than $34 million in restitution to SSA and other agencies, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cincinnati reported Thursday.
“Taking Social Security benefits intended for another is a theft from all of us,” U.S. Attorney Benjamin C. Glassman said. “Through our partnership with the Social Security Administration, the Southern District of Ohio is cracking down on this fraud as never before.”