BALTIMORE, Md. – U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte sentenced Patricia Sahadachny, age 74, of Riverdale, Maryland to two years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for theft of government property. Judge Messitte also ordered Sahadachny to pay restitution in the amount of $256,244.
The sentence was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner and Special Agent in Charge Michael McGill of the Social Security Administration (SSA) – Office of Inspector General (OIG), Philadelphia Field Division.
“This sentence reflects the egregious nature of the defendant’s conduct over more than two decades, as she perpetuated this fraud against all taxpayers,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Michael McGill. “The SSA OIG will continue to use every available resource and work closely with SSA to identify beneficiary deaths and pursue those who misuse Social Security benefits after someone dies. I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office for its support of this investigation and its efforts to recover these funds for Social Security.”
According to her plea agreement, from February 1994 to January 2018, Sahadachny stole monthly Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits payments intended for her son, who died on February 25, 1994. Sahadachny concealed and failed to disclose to SSA that her son had died, resulting in a loss to the U.S. government of $256,244.
As detailed in her plea agreement, at the time of his death, Sahadachny’s son was receiving his SSDI checks by mail at his residence, which he shared with Sahadachny, who served as his caretaker. When her son died, Sahadachny did not notify SSA of his death, and as a result, SSA continued to send checks in her son’s name to the residence. Sahadachny continued to deposit the benefits checks into her account, forging her son’s signature. This continued for nearly 24 years until SSA discovered through an audit that her son was likely deceased and terminated payments in January 2018.
During an interview with SSA OIG agents on October 24, 2018, Sahadachny admitted forging her son’s signature and depositing her son’s benefits checks into her account after his death. Sahadachny spent the stolen funds either by withdrawing them as cash, or using them to pay for personal expenses, including credit card debt she incurred on accounts she opened using her son’s name and social security number after he died. Sahadahcny opened at least 11 credit accounts using her son’s identity after his death, of which, at least four were ultimately settled for less than the full amount owed.
Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner praised the Social Security Administration for their work in the investigation. Mr. Lenzner thanked Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael F. Davio, who prosecuted the case.