An Oregon man who assumed the identity of a dead child more than 30 years ago so he could receive double social security checks when he retired, was sentenced on Monday to two years of probation.
Robert Lizaragga, of Gresham, 70, learned that the unnamed child had died from news articles printed in 1990, then got the child’s birth date from court records, he told an Oregon district court judge.
He worked under his own name until 1990, then obtained a new social security number in the child’s name in 1991. From then on, he assumed the identity of the child and worked under that name. It is unclear whether he knew the child.
When both his assumed and real identities reached retirement age, he began collecting double social security checks.
Under the child’s name, he collected $12,509.60 in retirement benefits between 2017 through 2020 along with an additional $1,200 check under the CARES Act, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Sweet told The Oregonian.
Under the deceased child’s name, Robert Lizarraga, 70, collected $12,509.60 in retirement benefits between 2017 through 2020 along with an additional $1,200 check under the CARES Act
Since he was caught in June, he told the court he had paid back the ill-gotten funds, according to a court filing from September 8.
‘I’ve done everything I can to get things right,’ he told U.S. District Judge Karin J. Immergut at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse in Portland. ‘I apologize to the courts and to everybody I affected.’
Although he could have faced up to 10 years in prison, his health issues were taken into consideration – during court proceedings, he sat in a wheelchair, and told the judge he had suffered a stroke and is now struggling with blood clots in his leg.
Although she appreciated that he paid back what he owed, Judge Immergut said she was struck by the calculated, long-maintained fraud, the Oregonian reported.
‘I’ve done everything I can to get things right,’ Lizarraga told U.S. District Judge Karin J. Immergut at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse in Portland (pictured). ‘I apologize to the courts and to everybody I affected.’
Source: Daily Mail UK