A New Jersey woman has been indicted for allegedly stealing over $1 million of federal benefits over the course of a quarter of a century intended for her deceased aunt.

Janis Miller of South Orange, NJ, Charged

77-year-old Janis Miller of South Orange is facing one count of wire fraud.

Federal officials say Miller's aunt died in January of 1998 and unaware of her death, the Social Security Administration and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management paid approximately $1.01 million in retirement and survivor benefits to the bank account of Miller's deceased aunt.

  • $313,217 in SSA benefits
  • $697,787 in OPM benefits

It is alleged that by using a debit card, cash withdrawals, and forged checks made out to a company Miller controlled, "Miller unlawfully disbursed virtually all of those embezzled funds."

In 2022, to continue her unlawful receipt of the benefits, officials say Miller, in a telephone conversation with an SSA employee, impersonated her dead aunt and provided her aunt's approximate birthdate.

The alleged fraud was discovered last year, some 25 years after it began.

Potential Prison Time

The count of wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine reaching into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger credited special agents with the Social Security Administration and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for their work in this investigation.

The public is reminded that charges are accusations and all persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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