Pawtucket house painter admits to fraud

Pawtucket house painter admits to fraud

PROVIDENCE – A Pawtucket man who collected approximately $186,000 on Social Security disability insurance benefits while at the same time earning nearly $400,000 in wages as a house painter pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to fraud and theft charges.

Jose Gaza, 66, admitted to the court that from July 2005 to July 2015, he worked under a fictitious name and Social Security number for a painting contractor, while fraudulently collecting a monthly Social Security disability benefit payment of approximately $1,399.

Gaza admitted to fraudulently collecting approximately $186,000 in Social Security disability benefits while earning wages totaling approximately $393,000.

Appearing before U.S. District Court Judge John McConnell Jr., Gaza pleaded guilty to Social Security fraud and theft of government funds, announced U.S. Attorney Aaron L. Weisman and Scott E. Antolik, special agent in charge of the Boston Field Office of the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General/Office of Investigations.

Gaza is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 10.

Social Security fraud is punishable by statutory penalties of up to five years imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release. Theft of government funds is punishable by statutory penalties of up to 10 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.