NEWARK, Ohio (WCMH) — Cindy Hardway was sentenced after stealing more than $250,000 over 15 years by continuing to claim her father’s pension and Social Security benefits after his death.
The 62-year-old Newark woman was sentenced in U.S. District Court on Friday to pay restitution of $254,115.74, serve six months in federal prison, and spend three years under supervised release.
According to court documents, Hardway used some of the money for a trip to Las Vegas soon after her father’s death in 2005 and continued stealing the money for another 15 years.
“This money was intended for some of our nation’s most vulnerable people: retirees, widows and people with disabilities, among others,” said Kenneth Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio. “I commend the Social Security’s Administration’s Office of the Inspector General and the Department of Labor for continuing to audit its programs and identify inappropriate distributions and theft. People should know they can be identified and held accountable.”
Hardway pleaded guilty in April 2021 to two felonies: one count of theft of public money and one count of theft or embezzlement from an employee benefit plan.
“This sentence holds Ms. Hardway accountable for accessing her deceased father’s account to steal taxpayer funds. I am gratified that a review by our audit office identified this case and alerted our investigators of this fraud,” said Gail Ennis, Inspector General for the Social Security Administration. “These efforts are critical to maintaining the public’s trust in Social Security. I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Landry for prosecuting this case.”