(CBS DETROIT) – A former branch manager who pleaded guilty to stealing social security benefits from a deceased customer has been sentenced to nearly three years in prison.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, 46-year-old Jeffrey Piecka of Midland was convicted Thursday of charges of theft of public funds and identity theft.
He pleaded guilty in December.
‘The defendant was able to secure the accounts of bank customers and he abused that trust. It is also important to remember that stealing from the government is stealing from the taxpayers who fund that government. The verdict today reflects the seriousness of this offense, “said U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison.
Legal records say Piecka, a former JPMorgan Chase Bank branch manager, devised a plan to steal $ 169,967 from the customer’s bank account.
During her employment, Piecka searched for open accounts with little activity. He identified the customer’s account and suspected that the customer was dead, and made changes to create online account access for himself.
Officials say he “manipulated the bank account to create online account access for himself, and he continued to withdraw significant sums of money from the account in various ways, including by making online payments to credit card companies, a utility company, his apartment complex, and his car loans.”
According to a report from The Detroit Newsmore than 300 transactions were made to the account between May 2012 and June 2020.
Piecka is ordered to pay compensation to the Social Security Administration.
“Mr. Piecka was in a position of trust; he abused it for his personal gain and stole over $ 169,000 in social security benefits. This verdict holds him responsible for his criminal acts,” said Gail S. Ennis, Inspector General of the Social Security Administration. office will continue to work with SSA to identify inappropriate payments to deceased persons. I thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office for prosecuting this person and protecting the integrity of SSA programs. “
© 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.