BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A 66-year-old Baltimore man will serve a year in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release after he was convicted of stealing Social Security benefits intended for his mother, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.
Wardell Lester, Jr. stole nearly $224,000 in monthly benefits for his mother from September 1997 to January 2018 after failing to notify the Social Security Administration that she had passed away in September 1997, according to the statement. He falsely reported that he spent the money on her behalf but was required to submit annual reports documenting the transactions that used those funds, which the statement said would be spent on housing, food and personal items.
Lester admitted to investigators in January 2019 that he had spent the money on medications and living expenses, as well as falsifying accounting forms. He apologized for the theft, but continued to do so until the Social Security Administration ended benefits in May 2019.