A Lakewood man pleaded guilty on Thursday to a federal charge for defrauding Social Security out of over $150,000 over the span of more than eight years, prosecutors said.
Valentino V. Agignoae, 55, of Lakewood, pleaded guilty to a federal criminal charge of wire fraud in front of U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow.
The U.S. State’s Attorney’s Office said Agignoae participated in a scheme to defraud and obtain money from the United States, specifically Social Security Administration disability insurance benefits.
Agignoae began receiving Social Security Administration disability insurance benefits in 1996.
In 2015, Agignoae’s Social Security Administration disability insurance benefits were terminated following a multi-year investigation by the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General.
From approximately January 2007 through April 2015, Agignoae fraudulently obtained approximately $157,503, prosecutors said.
The investigation revealed that part of Agignoae’s scheme to defraud involved him not notifying the Social Security Administration that he was able to work and was working at a restaurant in Chicago, where he was an owner and officer.
He also made false statements and representations regarding his prior work and employment, prosecutors said.
As part of the guilty plea, Agignoae agreed to pay back the $157,303 that was stolen from the government.
The guilty plea was announced by John Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Andrew Boockmeier, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael C. Beckman, Robert S. Ladd and Michael D. Love, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Niranjan Emani.
Agignoae faces a maximum term of 20 years in prison. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 13 in front of Judge Lefkow.