Springfield woman and man charged with stealing social security benefits

Crime
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Two Springfield residents were charged in federal court in Springfield for stealing Social Security benefits.

Hilda Griffin, 37, and Daquan Harris, 24, were each charged with three counts of theft of public money and one count of conspiracy. Harris appeared in federal court in Springfield on March 13, 2019, and was released on conditions. Griffin appeared in federal court in Springfield yesterday and was also released on conditions. 

According to the indictment, Griffin served as the representative payee for three individuals who were receiving Social Security benefits. Griffin failed to disclose that the individuals stopped living with her in October 2014, and that she continued to receive benefits on the individuals’ behalf through December 2014. It is alleged that Griffin then conspired with Harris to have him receive the benefits intended for the three individuals and provide those benefits to her. Harris received benefits intended for the three individuals from January 2015 through October 2016. In October 2016, Griffin reapplied to receive Social Security benefits on behalf of the three individuals, despite the fact that they were still not in her custody. Griffin improperly received benefits for two of the individuals from November 2016 through March 2017, and for the third individual from November 2016 through May 2018.

The indictment further alleges that Griffin stole more than $8,915 worth of Social Security benefits paid to her on behalf of the three individuals and that Harris, conspiring with Griffin, stole more than $21,870 in benefits. 

The charge of theft of public money provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of conspiracy provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Scott Antolik, Special Agent in Charge of the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Morgan of Lelling’s Springfield Branch Office is prosecuting the case.  

The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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