Man Pleads Guilty to Theft of Social Security Benefits

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A man from Jackson County, W.Va., pleaded guilty Monday to the theft of more than $10,000 in Social Security benefits, according to information from U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin's office.

Michael W. Smith, 36, of Sandyville, W.Va., faces a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and mandatory restitution in the amount of $10,110. Sentencing is scheduled for May 7.

In October of 2008, Smith began receiving Social Security benefits on behalf of his uncle, James Conrad, as Conrad’s representative payee. A representative payee is a person who agrees to receive benefits on behalf of the intended recipient.

When Conrad died on April 29, 2009, Smith’s right to receive benefits on behalf of his uncle ended. Smith continued to take the benefit payments on behalf of his deceased uncle from May of 2009 to July of 2010 by cashing benefit checks totaling $10,100.

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