Metro-Detroit Is A Mecca For Scammers Who Want To Live Off Dead Relatives’ Government Benefits
Scammers who live off the government benefits of dead relatives cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Last year alone, Social Security Administration inspector general audits found that the Social Security Administration paid out more than $40 million to 500 dead people in Michigan alone.
Over the last five years, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit says it has prosecuted more scammers living off dead relative’s government benefits than anywhere else in the United States. The USAO in Detroit charged 40 people with illegally collecting dead relative’s government benefits. They are also investigating another 125 cases that were flagged in a 2018 audit. Prosecutors say scammers in Detroit now account for almost half of all Social Security fraud in the country.
Of the 41 defendants charged in metro Detroit since 2014, 31 have been convicted and sentenced; six are awaiting sentencing; four cases are still pending. Prosecutors in Detroit have obtained $4.4 million in restitution orders and another half a million dollars in restitution to other victims.