TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A man was sentenced Friday to prison over a seven-decade-long Social Security benefits scheme hatched by his father, who died in 1984.
Nicholas Severino Jr., 63, of Paulsboro, was given a three-year term and ordered to pay nearly $244,000 in restitution. He pleaded guilty Nov. 16 to a charge of second-degree theft of property lost, mislaid or delivered under mistake.
Authorities said the scheme began in 1945 when Severino's father received a Social Security number under the fictitious name of Frank DiCarlo. He worked at the Philadelphia Naval Base under his real name during the day and at a fencing company at night as DiCarlo, prosecutors said.
Father and son had a joint bank account where Social Security checks were directly deposited.
The elder Severino died in 1984, but Social Security continued paying DiCarlo because there was no record of his death.
The scam unraveled when the Social Security Administration came looking for DiCarlo in August 2013 by visiting his last known address in Camden when he would have reached the age of 100. The bank account led investigators to his son, and the younger Severino was indicted in February 2015.
"Like his father before him, Severino thought he could cheat the system, but we're putting such cheats on notice that their selfish criminal conduct will land them in prison," said John Hoffman, acting state attorney general.