Woman pleads guilty to getting fraudulent benefits

An Amherst woman pleaded guilty Thursday, Jan. 26, to three counts of making false statements after racking up thousands of dollars’ worth of fraudulent benefits.

U.S. Attorney Emily Gray Rice said Mary Sosa, 57, began receiving Social Security disability benefits in 1997, Medicaid benefits in July 2013 and food stamps in July 2014.

Eligibility for each of these programs is based, in part, on the applicant having limited income and resources. In assessing a married individual’s eligibility for Social Security disability benefits, Medicaid and food stamps, the income of the applicant’s spouse is considered.

Sosa married in September 2001, but she failed to disclose her marriage to Social Security as required, according to court documents.

When she admitted to Social Security in 2014 she was married, she falsely stated her husband moved out of their residence two days after their wedding, the documents say. Similarly, in connection with her claims for Medicaid and food stamps, Sosa erroneously informed the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services she was never married, and she failed to identify her husband as a member of her household, the documents say.

Her husband’s income would have rendered her ineligible to receive any Supplemental Security Income benefits, Medicaid and food stamps.

As a result of concealing her marriage and husband’s residence from the Social Security Administration and state Department of Health and Human Services, Sosa fraudulently received about $91,669 in disability benefits, $21,524 in Medicaid and $1,963 in food stamps.

Sosa’s sentencing is scheduled for May 4.

– Cabinet staff