Caroline County Couple Pleads Guilty to Stealing Social Security - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Caroline County Couple Pleads Guilty to Stealing Social Security Benefits

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(Photo: AP) (Photo: AP)

CAROLINE COUNTY, Md. – A husband and wife from Greensboro have plead guilty to stealing upwards of $300,000 dollars from the government.

Josephine D. Wright, and her husband, James B. Wright, both fifty-five-years old, pleaded guilty to theft of government property, having stolen over $265,700 in social security benefits.

According to their pleas, in 1993, James Wright began receiving disability benefits from the Social Security Administration for himself and his children; this was based off his inability to work due to a mental impairment and head injury. Josephine Wright was then appointed as his representative payee; she became responsible for everything related to Wright's benefits, including reporting any work-related changes.

However authorities say, in 1998, James Wright began working as a commercial truck driver and obtained a commercial driver’s license. Yet in order to maintain his commercial driver’s license, Wright had to regularly submit medical documents verifying that he was healthy and capable to work.

Police say that in order to prevent the SSA from discovering James Wright’s work activity, the Wrights then formed a company in Josephine Wright’s name. Wright then had his paychecks issued and deposited into the company's bank account.

Authorities say that on several occasions, including in March 2014, the SSA requested an updated work activity report from Wright. The form (which was completed by Wright) had written across the page “Did not find Job. Not able to work at this time” At the bottom of the page, Wright wrote, “Not able to find work!” and “Not able to drive, take care of money, cook, clean, other day to day life.” The form was then signed by Josephine Wright.

Police say that if the SSA had been aware of James Wright’s work activity and earnings, he would not have been qualified to receive the $265,746.60, in disability benefits.

Officials say that as part of their plea agreements, the Wrights have agreed to paid back the stolen money, which totaled to over $265,746.40. Also, police say that James Wright and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts the plea agreement he will be sentenced to eighteen months in prison. Judge Motz has scheduled James Wright’s sentencing for December 2, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. Josephine Wright faces a maximum sentence of ten years in prison for theft of government property. Her sentencing is scheduled for December 21, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

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