Son pleads guilty to pension fraud

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A Herndon man who forged his deceased father’s signature in order to continue collecting the man’s pension pleaded guilty on Monday to defrauding the federal government.

Thomas Desanto, 58, lied about the 1991 death of his father, a former federal government employee, and collected $134,639 in retirement annuity payments, said the U.S. attorney’s office for the District.

Prosecutors said Desanto registered for a Pennsylvania driver’s license under a fake name, then forged his father’s signature and opened a joint bank account to which he directed the payments.

In April 2006, the Office of Personnel Management inspector general stopped the pension payments after looking at Social Security Administration records.

Desanto faces 10 years in prison when he is sentenced July 6. Prosecutors said he likely will serve between 12 months and 18 months. As part of his plea agreement, Mr. Desanto agreed to pay back the nearly $135,000 he stole.

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