A 60-year-old Cambria Heights man has been arrested on charges of theft of government property, the U.S. attorney for New York’s eastern district said.
Mark Hodge allegedly stole more than $150,000 from the Social Security Administration, the Office of Personnel Management and Department of Veterans Affairs between March 1999 and July 2017.
“Month after month for nearly two decades, the defendant allegedly stole government funds intended for his mother, who had died in 1999,” U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said. “This office will hold responsible and prosecute those fraudsters who cash government checks meant for our nation’s retirees, veterans or the disabled.”
According to the complaint, the three federal agencies had been paying benefits to the defendant’s mother, who had been residing with the defendant until her death in 1999. Unaware of her death, the agencies continued making payments for her benefit.
Instead of reporting the overpayments, the defendant allegedly transferred the funds from a joint bank account in his mother’s name to his own personal checking account. Hodge allegedly continued the fraud in November 2016, when he falsely represented to the Social Security Administration that his mother was alive, but unable to be interviewed because she had been hospitalized.
If convicted, the defendant could face a statutory maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment.