Massachusetts Woman Sentenced to Six Months in Prison for Stealing Social Security Benefits

Mar 8, 2024

From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – A Methuen woman was sentenced today in federal court in Boston for stealing Social Security benefits intended for her child.    

Karen Silva-Brown, 58 was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs to six months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. Silva-Brown was also ordered to pay restitution of $60,810 to the Social Security Administration (SSA). In December 2023, Silva-Brown pleaded guilty to one count of theft of public funds. 

From November 2014 through October 2018, Silva-Brown embezzled approximately $60,810 in Social Security benefits that were intended for her minor child. In March 2012, when Silva-Brown applied for and began receiving benefits on behalf of her child as a representative payee, SSA informed her of her obligation to notify SSA if her child left her custody. However, Silva-Brown did not notify SSA when she lost custody of her child in November 2014. Instead, Silva-Brown provided two fraudulent accountings to SSA in June and July 2016 where she claimed that her child still lived with her and that she spent all the Social Security benefits she received for her child’s care. In reality, Silva-Brown used the vast majority of the stolen funds to pay her own bills.

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy and Sharon MacDermott, Special Agent in Charge of the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, Boston Field Division made the announcement. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Nagelberg of the Major Crimes Unit prosecuted the case.

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