For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
MARRIED COUPLE CONVICTED AND SENTENCED FOR STEALING OVER $413,000 IN SOCIAL SECURITY AND UNION PENSION DEATH BENEFITS BY FAKING HUSBAND’S DEATH
SANTA ANA – A married couple was convicted and sentenced today for stealing over $413,000 in death benefits over a 7-year period by faking the husband’s death. Santiago Carrasco, 52, and Rosa Carrasco, 54, both of Santa Ana, both pleaded guilty to a court offer to two felony counts of grand theft with sentencing enhancements for aggravated white collar crime over $100,000 and property loss over $200,000. They were each sentenced to two years in custody, two years of mandatory supervision upon release, and ordered to pay over $413,000 in restitution.
Prior to 2004, Santiago Carrasco lived with his wife, Rosa Carrasco, for approximately two decades under the assumed name Lucio Rodriguez.
In the summer of 2004, the defendants plotted to fake “Lucio Rodriguez’s” death so that the couple could collect Social Security and union pension death benefits. In August 2004, Santiago Carrasco traveled to Mexico and bribed authorities in order to obtain a death certificate under his alias using fraudulent information that he had died in Mexico of a heart attack. He then returned to the United States and lived under his real name.
The couple continued to live together in Santa Ana after the fake death of Lucio Rodriguez. Beginning in September 2004, Rosa Carrasco collected financial death benefits until both defendants were arrested in August 2011.
While fraudulently collecting death benefits, both defendants were employed. Rosa Carrasco worked in a retail store at South Coast Plaza and Santiago Carrasco worked as a truck driver based out of the City of Fontana.
In all, the defendants collected over $413,000. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department and U.S. Social Security Administration began investigating this case after receiving information that the defendants had faked Santiago Carrasco’s death.
Deputy District Attorney Matt Lockhart prosecuted this case.