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For Immediate Release
July 19, 2002
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357

75-YEAR-OLD FINKSBURG MAN SENTENCED FOR CASHING
DEAD MOTHER’S SOCIAL SECURITY CHECKS FOR 6 YEARS

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today the conviction and sentencing of Edward L. Birtic for felony theft from the Social Security Administration. Birtic, 75, of the 3100 block of Murray Road, Finksburg, entered a guilty plea before Carroll County Circuit Court Judge Raymond Beck, Sr. Birtic was sentenced to one year in jail, which was suspended and the defendant was placed on one year of supervised probation. Birtic was further ordered to pay restitution of $47,068 to the United States Government, which he paid following sentencing.

The theft scheme was discovered by investigators assigned to the Attorney General’s Environmental Crimes Unit during an unrelated hazardous waste investigation involving a South Baltimore warehouse. Subsequently, the payments were stopped and a separate criminal investigation was begun by the Social Security Administration’s Inspector General’s Office.

According to the statement of facts, the Inspector General’s review showed that after his mother’s death in 1994, Birtic continued to receive her Social Security payments for six years. Not only did Birtic fail to notify Social Security that his mother had died in 1994, but during a routine review of her eligibility status conducted in 1998, he lied and told an employee of the local field office in Westminster that his mother was alive. As a result, the monthly benefit which averaged approximately $675, continued to be electronically deposited to a joint account titled to Edward Birtic and his late mother. After the money was placed in the joint account each month, Birtic removed that month’s payment from the account by making checks payable to "cash" or to himself.

"Mr. Birtic simply never reported his mother’s death and continued to collect her benefits checks as if she were still living," Attorney General Curran said. "He stole from the Federal Government for six years and the law caught up with him–as is often the case."

Birtic was convicted in April of this year for the original hazardous waste violations in Baltimore City and was sentenced to serve 90 days on home detention, placed on probation and fined.

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