BOSTON – A West Yarmouth woman was sentenced today in federal court in Boston for stealing Social Security disability benefits.
Crystal Lehtola, 35, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young to three years of supervised release, with the first six months to be served on home confinement, and ordered to pay restitution of $53,682. In May 2018, Lehtola pleaded guilty to one count of theft of public funds. Lehtola was arrested and charged in August 2017.
From February 2011 through August 2016, Lehtola received approximately $53,682 in benefits from the Social Security Administration intended for her disabled daughter. In order to be appointed as her daughter’s representative payee, Lehtola told Social Security that her daughter lived with her and that she was her daughter’s guardian. However, in April 2009, the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families removed Lehtola’s daughter from her care, and although Lehtola never regained custody, she repeatedly advised Social Security that her daughter lived with her and that she spent all of the benefits on her daughter’s care. In reality, Lehtola spent the funds on her own expenses.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Scott Antolik, Special Agent in Charge of the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, Boston Field Division, made the announcement. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Burzycki of Lelling’s Major Crimes Unit prosecuted the case.