U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania
(717) 221-4482
November 20, 2014

Peckville Women Charged with Theft of Social Security Benefits

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, announced today that a felony criminal information charging Michaelina Chivers, nee Vaughan, age 69, of Peckville, Pennsylvania, was filed in the United States District Court in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, Chivers was charged in connection with theft of social security benefits are the result of her failure to inform the Social Security Administration of the death of her mother, and continuing to receive and use her deceased mother’s SSA benefits for her own personal use and gain. As part of the plea agreement filed with the Court, Chivers has agreed to pay restitution to the SSA in the amount of $218,869.00, representing the loss to the SSA as a result of her fraud.

If convicted, Chivers could be imprisoned for a total statutory maximum sentence of up to 10 years and a fine in the amount of $250,000.

The joint investigation was conducted by the United States Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Todd K. Hinkley.

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

A sentence following a finding of guilty is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

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.

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