|Carmen Soto is accused of swiping more than $650,000 off of two false government IDs since 1994. Getty Images/Glowimages RF|
A grifting granny from The Bronx bilked the federal government out of more than $650,000 — then blew most of it at the casino, authorities said Tuesday.
Carmen Soto, 77, had apparently been plotting the scheme since 1960, when she applied for two phony Social Security cards and began collecting benefits off the bogus government IDs around 1994, according to the Bronx District Attorney’s Office.
She was finally busted this year after a trip to the state Department of Motor Vehicles — where facial-recognition technology blew the lid off the illicit venture, officials said.
Soto, who had a third Social Security card in her real name, had applied for government benefits using the other two IDs with the aliases Gloria Sanchez and Carmen Maldonado — in what Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark called a “carefully orchestrated scheme” to bilk the system.
Over nearly three decades of collecting dough from Social Security and the city’s Human Resources Administration, Soto conned well over half a million dollars, authorities said.
Each of Soto’s identities had a bank account, driver’s licenses or non-driver ID, a passport and a P.O. box, according to prosecutors.
But the wealth of supporting documents was her undoing: Soto was nabbed while trying to renew a driver’s license — and the DMV’s facial-recognition technology matched her face with three separate IDs.
Soto pleaded guilty to second-degree grand larceny in May.
She was sentenced to five years’ probation and is also on the hook for the money — most of which she already lost gambling, prosecutors said.
“This sentencing should stand as a warning to those who are thinking
of defrauding the Social Security Administration to receive benefits –
we will hold you accountable,” Sharon MacDermott, head of the Social
Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General in New York,
said in a statement.