Massachusetts Couple Charged with SSA Disability Fraud
Posted on Jun 09, 2012
A Revere, Massachusetts, couple were charged in federal court with Social Security disability fraud on April 13, 2012.
According to the Office of the Inspector General for the Social Security Administration, Michael Cucchiello, Sr., 61 and Lisa Nickerson, 59, allegedly defrauded the government in order to receive Section 8 housing assistance and Social Security disability benefits.
The couple is alleged to have lied to the government about their living arrangements. From January 1, 2002 to on or about September 29, 2006, they are accused of concealing the fact that they were living together, even though they reported that Cucchielo was living in a different home than Nickerson.
In order to get HUD Section 8 benefits, the total household income must remain below an amount that the couple exceeded. Later, from October 2006 to April 2008, Nickerson was allegedly paid HUD benefits by claiming that she was renting from—not living with—Nickerson. In addition, Nickerson’s income was alleged to be over the limit allowed.
In all, it is alleged that HUD was bilked out of a total of $79,416 in illegally obtained benefits.
Both Cucchiello and Nickerson were also charged on counts relating to fraudulently receiving Social Security benefits while working, while reporting that they weren’t employed. The Inspector General’s report says that Cucchiello did not disclose the income he received from a bakery he owns in East Boston or the rental payments he received on behalf of Nickerson.
This scheme allegedly cost the government $58,061 for Cucchiello and $27,278 for Nickerson in SSA disability payments.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Kanwit, of United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit, will be prosecuting the case.
The staff and Boston disability lawyers of Keefe Disability Law deplore instances of benefits fraud, and we hope that justice prevails in the current case.