|TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that a Bergen County woman was indicted today for allegedly stealing $128,131 by fraudulently collecting Social Security benefits for her mother for nearly eight years after the mother died.
The Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau today obtained a state grand jury indictment charging Linda Miller, 58, of Englewood, N.J., with second-degree theft by deception. The charge is the result of an investigation by the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Social Security Administration, the Division of Criminal Justice and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
It is alleged that after Miller’s mother died on May 4, 2006, Miller fraudulently continued to collect her mother’s Social Security benefits until July 2014. The benefits were direct deposited into a bank account in Miller’s name and subsequently withdrawn by Miller. Miller allegedly stole a total of $128,131 in Social Security benefits that were paid into her account after the mother’s death.
Miller also was charged in the State of New York with fraudulently collecting pension benefits from the mother’s New York State pension after the mother died. Miller pleaded guilty on July 29 in New York State to a third-degree charge of larceny and is awaiting sentencing. She faces up to a year in jail and up to five years of supervised release under her plea agreement. It was the Office of the State Comptroller in New York that first learned that the mother had died but that Social Security benefits were still being paid for her. That office referred the matter to the U.S. Social Security Administration.
The case was presented to the state grand jury by Deputy Attorney General Anthony Torntore. The case was investigated by Special Agent Kristie Morgan of the Social Security Administration - Office of the Inspector General and Detective James Gallo of the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau, with assistance from U.S. Postal Inspector Brian MacDonald of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Acting Attorney General Hoffman thanked the Social Security Administration - Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Edward J. Ryan, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division, for its investigation and referral.
Under New Jersey law, second-degree crimes carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The indictment was handed up to Superior Court Judge Mary C. Jacobson in Mercer County, who assigned the case to Bergen County, where Miller will be ordered to appear at a later date for arraignment.