Tijuana Woman Sentenced to 12 Months for Stealing Dead Mother’s Social Security Benefits for 13 Years

Nov 14, 2023

From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of California

SAN DIEGO – Kimberly Kay Brandt, a 51-year-old U.S. citizen living in Tijuana, was sentenced in federal court today to 12 months and one day in prison for concealing her mother’s death from the Social Security Administration for 13 years to steal more than $268,000 in retirement benefits.

Brandt pleaded guilty to Social Security fraud in August 2023. According to her plea agreement, Brandt’s mother, identified in court records as H.B., moved from California to her daughter’s home in Tijuana when her health declined. She died in Mexico in June 2010. H.B. had been receiving retirement benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) via direct deposit into her bank account. 

After H.B. died, Brandt did not inform the SSA and continued to use H.B.’s bank card to withdraw the benefits intended for H.B. Brandt admitted that she impersonated H.B. in a call to H.B.’s bank, purportedly to update H.B.’s address and request a new bank card in H.B.’s name. Brandt enlisted a third party to bring the new bank card to her in Mexico. After the SSA discovered H.B.’s death and stopped paying benefits, Brandt impersonated H.B. again in a call to the bank to inquire about the missing payment. Brandt was arrested on June 27, 2023, as she attempted to cross into the U.S. from Mexico, three weeks after the SSA benefits stopped.

Brandt was ordered to pay $268,143 in restitution to the Social Security Administration.

This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa J. Sanniti.

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