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Document and Benefit Fraud
05/28/2019

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Hazelton man charged with theft of government property and aggravated identity theft

SCRANTON, Pa. – On Tuesday, May 28, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced the indictment, of a Hazelton, Pennsylvania man, who was indicted on May 21, 2019, by a federal grand jury for theft of government property, specifically, theft of welfare benefits to which he was not entitled, as well as for charges of social security fraud, false claim of United States citizenship and aggravated identity theft., following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Office of the State Inspector General. 

The indictment alleges that Andres Santos, 37, in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, in Luzerne County, Santos used the social security account number and other identification information of another person and misrepresented his citizenship status in order to obtain Medicaid Medical Assistance benefits and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits in an amount over $1000.00 each, to which he was not entitled.

Indictments are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. The maximum penalty under federal law for these offenses is 12 years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Jeffery St. John is prosecuting the case.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/30/2019