Man sentenced for collecting $150K in Social Security after wife's death

·1 min read

Aug. 20—A man who fraudulently collected more than $150,000 in Social Security after his wife's death in Dayton was sentenced to three months in prison.

Robert Seale also was sentenced to three years of supervised release and must pay back $154,986 to the Social Security Administration, according to the Office of the Inspector General of the SSA.

Seale was indicted in March and pleaded guilty in April.

"This sentence demonstrates that misusing Social Security benefits after someone dies is a criminal and punishable act," Inspector General Gail Ennis said. "Our auditors and criminal investigators will continue to collaborate with SSA and other agencies to identify those who conceal death reports for their personal gain. We will continue to hold accountable those who commit crimes involving Social Security benefits."

According to federal court documents, Seale continued to receive Social Security benefits intended for Deborah Leisten-Seale after she died in Dayton in September 2010.

Since at least 2009, Leisten-Seale's benefits were deposited in Seale's bank account. Following her death, funds continued to be deposited in the account until November 2018, according to court records.

During an interview with U.S. Secret Service special agents in 2020, Seale reportedly admitted that he managed Leisten-Seale's benefits before she died and that he continued to use the benefits after her death.

"He admitted he used the money to pay the mortgage of his house, debts and other expenses," an affidavit read. "He admitted he had always intended to pay the money back but was never in a position to do so."

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