Woman Facing Federal Charges for Filing and Receiving Social Security Benefits Under Two Social Security Numbers

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Baltimore, Maryland – A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Dinorah De Denis, age 72, of Frederick, Maryland, for the federal charges of theft of government property and social security fraud.

The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Michael McGill of the Social Security Administration – Office of Inspector General, Philadelphia Field Division; and Lead Investigator Pam Shank of the Office of Inspector General, Maryland Department of Human Services.

According to the two-count indictment, De Denis allegedly obtained two social security numbers and did not report to the Social Security Administration or the State of Maryland that she was receiving widows insurance benefits (WIB) payments under another social security number.  Allegedly, she received supplemental security income (SSI) Medicaid and Food Supplement benefits through the State of Maryland under her first social security number when she applied for and was awarded SSA WIB under the other social security number.  As a result, De Denis received $89,085 in benefits to which she was not entitled.

As alleged in the indictment, De Denis applied for her first social security number in 1973 under her birth name, Dinorah Cepeda Ulloa, on May 7, 1973.  After De Denis married her husband later that year, De Denis obtained a second social security number under her married surname “De Denis”.  The indictment alleges that De Denis applied for SSI in 2005 and was awarded SSI in 2006 under her first social security number and then applied for WIB after her husband died in 2012 under her second social security number and was awarded monthly payments thereafter. According to the indictment, De Denis did not disclose to the Social Security Administration that she was receiving WIB under another social security number, which would have disqualified her from receiving SSI.

Further, the indictment alleges that on September 28, 2017, during an interview with Social Security Administration representatives regarding her continued eligibility for supplemental security income under her first social security number, De Denis allegedly falsely stated that she was currently married to her husband and that they had been separated since 1984.  Allegedly, De Denis also stated that her husband lived in Puerto Rico and that she was not aware of his whereabouts, despite the fact that she had applied for widows insurance benefits upon his death in 2012.

If convicted, De Denis faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison for theft of government property and 5 years in federal prison for social security fraud.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. 

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An indictment is not a finding of guilt.  An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings. 

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the SSA-OIG and the Maryland Department of Human Services Office of Inspector General for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Barron thanked Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Davio, who is prosecuting the federal case.

For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.

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