Rumford man pleads guilty to Social Security fraud; theft of public money

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PORTLAND — A Rumford man pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court to Social Security fraud and theft of public money, according to U.S. Attorney Halsey B. Frank.

Since 1995, Raymond J. Brenneis, 59, has received Supplemental Security Income benefits, which are paid to people with limited incomes who are blind, disabled or elderly, according to Frank.

Between 2015 and 2017, Brenneis also received Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program and Maine State Supplement for SSI benefits. He told the federal and state programs administering the benefit programs that he was living alone and not receiving help or money from any other person, according to Frank.

Frank said that from 2011 to 2017, Brenneis lived with his wife, whose receipt of Social Security Disability Insurance benefits rendered him ineligible for benefits.

Brenneis told investigators he concealed his actual living arrangements because he knew his wife’s benefits would make him ineligible to receive his own benefits.

Brenneis faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for Social Security fraud, and up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for theft of public money. He also faces up to three years of supervised release.

He will be sentenced after a presentence investigation report by the U.S. Probation Office.

The investigation was conducted by the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General and the Maine Department of Health & Human Service’s Fraud Investigation and Recovery Unit.

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