A Fairfield man has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for stealing more $300,000 in Social Security payments that were paid to his dead father's account, according to David Fein, the U.S. attorney for Connecticut.
James Briggs Jr., 68, was sentenced to the prison term, followed by three years of supervised release, on Thursday by Chief U.S. District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford. Briggs had pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government property in January.
Briggs also was ordered to perform 150 hours of community service and to make full restitution of the stolen payments. So far, Fein said, he has repaid approximately $38,000.
Briggs' father, James Briggs Sr., began receiving monthly Social Security benefits in 1974, according to court documents and statements made in court. The senior Briggs died on Aug. 20, 1982, Fein said in a press release.
From the time of his father's death until August 2011, Briggs Jr. continued to receive, and use, the monthly Social Security payments intended for his father, according to Fein. In March 1997, Briggs Jr. contacted the Social Security Administration to provide a change of address to continue sending his father's Social Security benefits in the future.
Between 1982 and 2011, Briggs Jr. received a total of $307,925 in Social Security payments intended for his father, according to Fein.