Miami Customs Officer Stole $77,000 Of Late Father’s Social Security Money
Miami Herald (FL)
Gerardo Avila, father of Pembroke Pines resident Carlos Avila, didn’t protest his son taking $77,596 of his Social Security benefits. Nor did the Social Security Administration.
That is, until the Social Security Administration-Office of the Inspector General found out in 2021 that Gerardo Avila died in Guayaquil, Equador, on Sept. 13, 2010.
That’s all in the admission of facts that went along with Carlos Avila’s plea of guilty to theft of government funds. Avila, whom the U.S. Department of Justice says is a U.S. Customs and Border officer in Miami, was sentenced to six months of home confinement (house arrest), one year of probation and $77,596 of restitution.
The Social Security Administration began direct depositing benefits into Gerardo Avila’s PNC Bank account in 1996 and continued to do so until February 2017, when it was noticed he hadn’t been using his Medicare benefits. That’s a tipoff that the person might be dead.
But Carlos Avila changed the address on his father’s PNC account in September 2019, causing a national change of address update with the U.S. Postal Service and the Social Security Administration.
“With the new activity of an updated address for Gerardo Avila, the SSA thereafter released $22,074 in (retirement insurance benefits) into the PNC account,” resumed the monthly retirement benefits, Carlos Avila’s admission says.
Carlos Avila had a debit card for the account, allowing him to get to the money.
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