By Mehgaan Jones
A Riverdale man has been sentenced to six months in federal prison, followed by six months of home confinement, and three years of supervised release, for the theft of government funds.
United States District Judge William S. Duffey, issued the sentence to Melvin Douglas Skrine, 55, of Riverdale, last Friday, after he was convicted on charges of theft of government funds, according to Patrick Crosby, public affairs officer for the Northern District of Georgia United States Attorney's Office.
"This defendant cheated the system by claiming disability benefits to which he was not entitled, and fraudulently provided by his own son's Social Security number to his employer, in an effort to conceal from the Social Security Administration that he was in fact fit enough to be employed and earn income," said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates, in a statement to the media.
"Now he will spend time in federal prison and will be required to pay back the money he fraudulently obtained," continued Yates.
Skrine pleaded guilty to the charges against him on Oct. 18, 2010, according to Crosby in a press release. He was ordered to pay $138,069 in restitution.
Skrine's misrepresentations, and false statements, caused the Social Security Administration to erroneously issue $138,069 in disability payments to him, and his dependent beneficiaries, noted the press release.
"The Social Security Administration received an anonymous complaint that Skrine was working full-time as a custodian with the Fulton County School System while receiving Disability Insurance Benefits," said Yates.
She added, a subsequent investigation revealed Skrine worked at Mary M. Bethune Elementary School, in College Park, from 2003 through 2007.
"Fulton County School System personnel records revealed that Skrine applied for the custodian position utilizing his son's Social Security number," said Yates.
He also falsely told the Social Security Administration, on Sept. 26, 2008, and Nov. 18, 2008, that he was not working as a custodian with Fulton County.
The case was investigated by Special Agents of the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, Crosby added. He said Special Assistant United States Attorney Loranzo M. Fleming prosecuted the case.
"Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits are a lifeline for many Americans who are unable to work due to a temporary, or permanent disability, and the Office of the Inspector General, in conjunction with the United States Attorney, will investigate and prosecute individuals who defraud Social Security trust funds," said Guy P. Fallen, Special Agent-in-Charge, Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General.