Lakewood man pleads guilty to stealing Social Security money over 8 years

Photo File | Lakewood Village

A Lakewood man pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal charge of defrauding Social Security over $ 150,000 over a period of more than eight years, prosecutors said.

Valentino V. Agignoae, 55, of Lakewood, pleaded guilty to a federal criminal electronic fraud charge before U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow.

The US state attorney’s office said Agignoae was involved in a scheme to defraud and obtain money from the United States, specifically disability insurance benefits from the Social Security Administration.

Agignoae began receiving disability insurance benefits from the Social Security Administration in 1996.

In 2015, the disability insurance benefits of the Social Security Administration of Agignoae were terminated following a multi-year investigation conducted by the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General.

From January 2007 to April 2015, Agignoae fraudulently obtained approximately $ 157,503, prosecutors said.

The investigation revealed that part of Agignoae’s fraudulent scheme involved that he failed to inform the Social Security Administration that he was able to work and worked at a restaurant in Chicago, where he was the owner and officer.

He also made false statements and statements regarding his previous work and employment, prosecutors said.

As part of the guilty plea, Agignoae agreed to repay the $ 157,303 stolen from the government.

The guilty plea was announced by John Lausch, Jr., United States attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Andrew Boockmeier, special agent in charge of the Chicago office of the Inspector General’s office social security administration.

The government is represented by Assistant US Prosecutors Michael C. Beckman, Robert S. Ladd and Michael D. Love, and Special US Assistant Prosecutor Niranjan Emani.

Agignoae faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 13 before Judge Lefkow.

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