Dec 22, 2009

Sopranos Actor Acused Of Social Security Fraud -- And It's SSI Fraud At That!

From the New York Daily News:

A Brooklyn actor who played wiseguy Donald (Donny K) Cafranza on "The Sopranos" was pinched Monday for a real-life crime - stealing from the government.

Raymond Franza, 46, who appeared in five episodes of the hit HBO series, was accused of swindling nearly $13,000 from the Social Security Administration.

Franza was living on Staten Island in 2008 when he applied for disability benefits after a car crash, the Staten Island district attorney's office said.

He got $12,946 in payments over 14 months, but never said he was also collecting $4,000 a month in benefits from his auto insurance company, which made him ineligible for Social Security help.

Update: Some of you wonder how this could be Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits because of the amount of money involved for just 14 months. First, it has to be SSI since there is no way it is fraud if the benefits were based upon Mr. Franza's earnings. Those benefits are not means tested. Second, New York has state supplementation. The maximum SSI benefit for an individual in New York is $761 in 2009. Those numbers still do not add up but they are getting closer. The newspaper may have the number of months wrong or they may have the amount of the alleged overpayment wrong, but my bet is that the $14,000 figure includes some Medicaid benefits.


Anonymous said...

I'm confused. It is not SSI, he was not receiving public disability or workers' compensation. Why is he overpaid? Report mentions swindling and the Staten Island DA's office. Not sure why that is even mentioned.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like an SSI issue to me.

Anonymous said...

Well, my calculator says he got an average of $924.71 per month from SSA and I'm hard pressed to come up with a NY state scenario where SSI would pay that much. It does sound more like a T2 and WC type issue, but I'm no expert on WC and how NY state handles it.

Anonymous said...

$4,000 a month in benefits from his auto insurance company,

In that case,why bother to file a disability claim?

Anonymous said...

"$4,000 a month in benefits from his auto insurance company,

In that case,why bother to file a disability claim?"

Sorry,incomplete thought.

Why bother filing if he was aware,he was not entitled to ssi?
But he should hve applied for ssdi if qualified.

Strange story.

Anonymous said...

So will they send Tony after him? LOL

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that article is pretty tough on the guy by using words like swindling and scam, since I assume he was legally found to be disabled.

How many people work over the earnings test limits and don't report it and only thing that happens is the get hit with an overpayment when the wages are reported. If a person was getting $1,500 a month in retirement, that would be $18,000 in one year the person "scammed or swindled" out of SSA.

This smells like on of those lets make an example out of someone cases. Let the guy pay back what he owes and be done with it. Not like he was cashing his dead grandmother's checks.

Anonymous said...

This is welfare fraud and the word swindling is not an exageration. When a person receives SSI it is very clear that other income affects their checks and that they are not eligible unless they have very limited income. If he intentionally concealed information to rip off the govt then he should be prosecuted as well as make restitution.

My guess is that the $13,000 he received over 14 months includes an initial retroactive payment. For example, if called SSA for an appointment in 1/08 this established his filing date. If he was approved and got his first check in 4/08 and received checks over 14 months ending in 5/09 he would have received about $764/mo. The way the article is worded makes it impossible to tell what the monthly amount would have been, but it is certainly SSI fraud. Since SSI is reserved for the most needy people in our society, it is prosecutable and morally wrong to lie in order to receive it.

Anonymous said...

The point is, the incompetent media do such a poor job reporting(or even recognizing) facts, that even the readers of this blog, who are knowledgeable about Social Security, cannot figure out what the heck they are talking about.

Anonymous said...

As an SSI claims rep, I can say that I see similar types of overpayments and amounts on a regular basis. This particular overpayment is a bit more egregious than the underestimated deemor wage or the convoluted finances created by jointly owned bank accounts, but it is not all that unusual to send overpayment notices of $14k. What I don't get is why the Staten Island District Attorney is involved or even mentioned since this is a federal OIG issue.