PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A Bristol woman was arraigned in federal court today, having been charged by indictment with allegedly perpetrating a scheme to fraudulently collected more than $40,000 in Social Security Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for a child who was not in her care or custody, announced United Sates Attorney Zachary A. Cunha.
Sonia Pimentel, 43, was arraigned on a federal indictment charging her with bank fraud, theft of public funds, and aggravated identity theft.
It is alleged in charging documents that Pimentel fraudulently collected SSI monthly payments from December 2011through October 2016 by falsely representing herself as custodial parent for a child that did not live with her, and falsely representing to the Social Security Administration (SSA) that she had spent the SSI payments for that child’s care and support. It is alleged that Pimentel opened a bank account in the child’s name, directed the SSA to deposit the SSI benefits to that bank account, and then withdrew approximately $42,346.73 for her own personal use.
It is further alleged that Pimentel fraudulently used the name, date of birth, Social Security number, and bank account number of the child to file applications for continued SSI benefits for the child and to open the bank account into which the SSI benefits were deposited.
Pimentel pled not guilty before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Lincoln D. Almond and was released on $10,000 unsecured bond.
A federal indictment is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise M. Barton.
The matter was investigated by the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General.