Officials: NJ woman accused of stealing over $1 million in federal retirement benefits from deceased aunt

Officials say Janis Miller began collecting her deceased aunt's Social Security payments in 1998. She then allegedly embezzled over $1 million.

Lanette Espy

Dec 22, 2023, 6:26 PM

Updated 177 days ago

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A South Orange woman is accused of stealing more than $1 million in federal benefits from a dead relative, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced Thursday.
State officials say Janis Miller, 77, stole money from her deceased aunt over the course of 25 years. They say Miller's aunt died in 1998. Unaware of her death, officials say the Social Security Administration and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management paid $1.01 million in retirement and survivor benefits to the bank account of Miller's deceased aunt.
Officials say Miller unlawfully disbursed virtually all the embezzled funds by debit card, cash withdrawals and forged checks made out to a company that Miller controlled.
In 2022, officials say Miller impersonated her deceased aunt in a telephone conversation with an SSA employee and she provided her aunt's birthdate. OPM and SSA discovered the fraud and discontinued the benefits in 2023.
Miller was arrested Thursday and charged with one count of wire fraud. She was released on $100,000 unsecured bond and is awaiting trial.
The count of wire fraud is punishable by a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.


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