A retired New York Police Department lieutenant was charged with wire fraud on Wednesday for swindling more than $135,000 from the Social Security Administration while falsely claiming the money was for the “care and support” of his young children, officials announced.
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Michael Conway, 60, allegedly fraudulently received $138,016.60 in Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance funds, which are doled out by the SSA, after applying for auxiliary benefits for his eight-year-old twins.
Conway falsely indicated he was the sole financial provider for the young boy and girl, and further claimed they lived with him in Queens, according to a press release from the Eastern District of New York.
“[F]or nearly a decade, the defendant committed a fraud on his family and the SSA by unlawfully collecting and keeping funds that had been provided for the care of his children based on the false statements he made to the government,” said United States Attorney Richard P. Donohue in a prepared statement.
The ex-cop had started legally receiving funds for himself in May 2009 after he suffered an injury on the job years before, the release states.
After being approved for benefits on behalf of his kids that August, Conway received a lump sum amount of $15,664 on behalf of each child for overdue auxiliary benefits. Each subsequent month, the SSA deposited between $586 and $652 into his Citibank bank account for each twin before he was busted, according to court documents.
But Conway’s scheme was uncovered in September 2018, when the mother of Conway’s children walked into a Newburgh, New York, SSA office to apply for benefits under the Supplemental Security Income program for their then-18-year-old son, who is legally blind.
“The children have never lived in Queens, New York and have never lived with [their father],” court documents further state, “although they did have weekend visitation with the defendant every other weekend.”
Conway – who faces up to 20 years behind bars -- retired in October 2006 after 20 years on the job, an NYPD spokesperson said.
He was arraigned on Wednesday afternoon, and released on $200,000 bond, a federal spokesperson said.
Conway's defense attorney Steven Greenfield could not immediately be reached for comment.