Eighteen months in prison for Mechanicsville man who continued to cash dead mother's federal benefits checks

GREENBELT, Md. (October 15, 2020)—U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte sentenced Victor Demattia, age 64, of Mechanicsville, Maryland, yesterday to 18 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for stealing more than $400,000 in Civil Service Retirement benefits and Social Security benefits. Judge Messitte also entered an order requiring Demattia to forfeit and to pay a money judgment in the amount of $409,421.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Gail S. Ennis, Inspector General for the Social Security Administration; and Norbert E. Vint, Deputy Inspector General Performing the Duties of the Inspector General, of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Office of Inspector General (OIG).

"By not reporting his mother's death and continuing to accept and use her retirement benefits, Victor Demattia stole more than $400,000 from the United States," said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. "Federal agents and prosecutors have a duty to pursue perpetrators of such crimes and try to recover money stolen from the United States Treasury."

"The OPM OIG applauds the efforts of our investigators and law enforcement partners for their hard work on this case," said Norbert E. Vint, Deputy Inspector General Performing the Duties of the Inspector General, OPM OIG. "Ensuring that tax payer funds are used for their designated purpose helps ensure the integrity of the system."

According to Demattia's plea agreement, from February 2009 through June 2018, Demattia stole monthly Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) pension payments and Social Security Retirement Insurance Benefit (RIB) payments intended for his mother after her death, resulting in a loss to the United States Government of $409,421.

As detailed in Demattia's plea agreement, at the time of his mother's death, she was receiving CSRS pension payments from OPM and RIB payments from SSA by direct deposit to a joint account held by Demattia and his mother. When his mother died, Demattia did not notify SSA or OPM of her death, and as a result, SSA and OPM continued to make monthly deposits into the joint bank account. Demattia admitted that he withdrew the CSRS and RIB funds each month, typically by checks he endorsed, payable to himself or to his now-defunct medical transport business, Patriot Medical Transport.

On March 5, 2019, during an interview conducted by agents of the SSA Office of Inspector General and OPM Office of Inspector General, Demattia admitted that he spent his mother's RIB and CSRS payments after her death. He stated that he knew he was not entitled to the money, but spent the fund to cover expenses for his failing business such as payroll, fuel, receivables, and other operating expenses, as well as on personal expenses through debit card purchases after the closure of his business.

In total, Demattia stole $369,018 from OPM and $40,403 from SSA after his mother's death.

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur praised the SSA Office of Inspector General and OPM Office of Inspector General for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Davio, who prosecuted the case.

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