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Gambling Granny Escapes Prison for Bilking $650K in Benefits

An elderly woman from The Bronx was sentenced to five years in probation for bilking the federal government with over $650,000. She will also have to pay back the money under the plea bargain most of which she had lost at the casino.

Second Degree Grand Larceny

Carmen Soto, 77, was spared a prison sentence by Bronx Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Rosenblueth for having defrauded the money from the Social Security and the New York City’s Human Resources Administration over nearly three decades after she pleaded guilty to second-degree grand larceny last month.

The elderly resident of The Bronx carefully orchestrated a scheme to bilk the system starting back in 1960 when she applied for two other Social Security cards and around 1994, started using the phony ID cards to collect benefits, according to the prosecution.

Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark stated that Soto had illegally collected over the years $266,479.40 from the New York’s Human Resources Administration and $388,322.24 from the Social Security Administration using the other two IDs under the aliases Gloria Sanchez and Carmen Maldonado. Each of Soto’s phony identities had a bank account, driver’s license or non-driver ID, a passport and a P.O. box.

“The defendant collected money under three different names, and carefully orchestrated a scheme to collect benefits she was not entitled to.”

Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark

Busted by Facial Recognition Technology

Her successful attempt to bilk the federal government came to an abrupt end this year when she tried to renew her driver’s license and facial recognition technology within the Department of Motor Vehicles revealed her face was matching with three separate IDs.

Soto will avoid prison time if she completes her probation but her case was used as an example and a warning to all those who consider defrauding the system by Sharon MacDermot from the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General.

“This sentencing should stand as a warning to those who are thinking of defrauding the Social Security Administration to receive benefits –- we will hold you accountable.”

Sharon MacDermot, Special Agent in Charge, Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General

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