Feds: Waterbury woman illegally received Social Security benefits

Photo of Tara O'Neill


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WATERBURY — A local woman will spend three months in prison after she spent 13 years collecting Social Security benefits she wasn’t eligible for, according to federal prosecutors.

Judge Janet Hall sentenced Omayra Santiago, 44, to three months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Hall ordered Santiago to serve the first three months of supervised release in home confinement.

Santiago pleaded guilty on Oct. 3, 2019 to theft and conversion of public money.

The charged stemmed from an investigation into her monthly Social Security benefits — which she received for 13 years from 2005 to 2018.

During that time, authorities said, she was a representative payee of her children’s Social Security Income benefits and told the Social Security Administration that her household income, resources and living arrangement caused the children to be eligible for benefits, too.

In her statements to the administration over the years, she failed to mention that the father of her children owned the Waterbury property where the family lived, and that he claimed the children as dependents on his tax returns. Authorities said she also received cash and electronic deposits that she didn’t report as income.

In January 2017, Santiago got about $220,000 from a civil lawsuit settlement, but never disclosed to the Social Security Administration that she got the money, which she was required to, authorities said.

From 2005 through 2018, Santiago collected more than $146,752.86 worth of benefits that authorities say she was not entitled to get. Hall ordered Santiago to make full restitution.