Woman Pleads Guilty to Fraud
WORCESTER — A Westminster woman pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to stealing Social Security benefits, according to U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling.
Theresa Kenda Benedict, 55, pleaded guilty to one count of theft of public funds and four counts of making false statements, according to Lelling’s office.
Arrested and charged in June 2018, Benedict served as the representative payee for an individual who was receiving Social Security benefits.
In 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016, Benedict informed the Social Security Administration that she used all of the money she received as a representative payee for the beneficiary. However, Benedict had used some of the money for her own expenses, according to Lelling’s office.
Between December 2007 and March 2016, the government alleges Benedict stole approximately $46,310 in Social Security benefits.
The charge of theft of public funds provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater.
The charges of making false statements each provide for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater.
Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman scheduled sentencing for Aug. 14.
Lelling and Scott Antolik, special agent in charge of the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, and Boston Field Division, made the announcement. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Burzycki of Lelling’s Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.