John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that OMAYRA SANTIAGO, 44, of Waterbury, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall to three months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for illegally receiving Social Security benefits. Judge Hall ordered Santiago to serve the first three months of her supervised release in home confinement.
Pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the court proceeding occurred via videoconference.
According to court documents and statements made in court, for approximately 13 years, Santiago received monthly Social Security benefits from the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) in the form of Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”). Santiago was the representative payee of her children’s SSI benefits, and she represented to the SSA that her household’s income, resources and living arrangements caused the children to be eligible for SSI benefits.
From 2005 to 2018, Santiago made multiple false statements to the SSA in order to qualify for and receive SSI benefits. She failed to disclose that the father of her children owned the Waterbury property in which their family lived, and that the father of her children had claimed their children as dependents on his tax returns. Santiago also had received cash and electronic deposits and she did not report as income to the SSA. In addition, in January 2017, Santiago received approximately $220,000 from the settlement of civil lawsuit, but never disclosed her receipt of the money to the SSA as she knew she was required to do.
Between 2005 and 2018, Santiago collected more than $146,752.86 worth of SSI benefits that she was not entitled to received. Judge Hall ordered Santiago to make full restitution.
On October 3, 2019, Santiago pleaded guilty to one count of theft and conversion of public money.
This matter was investigated by the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Margaret M. Donovan.