Monroe County Man Sentenced to 60 Months in Prison After Concealing Father’s Death, Disposing of His Remains to Steal Social Security and Pension Benefits

Feb 15, 2024

From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Timothy Gritman, 56, of Brodheadsville, Pennsylvania, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Cynthia Rufe to 60 months’ incarceration and three years of supervised release for a fraud scheme in which he concealed his father’s death to steal Social Security Administration (“SSA”) retirement benefits and New York State pension benefits totaling approximately $204,985. Gritman was also ordered to pay restitution of $83,188 to the SSA and $110,897 to the New York State and Local Retirement System. He had pleaded guilty to fourteen counts of wire fraud and one count of Social Security fraud on February 13, 2023.

Gritman’s father, Ralph, was 79 years old and in poor health when he was last seen alive by relatives at Gritman’s Pennsylvania residence in 2016. In the summer of 2017, Gritman relocated to Wyoming with his father. According to Medicare records, the father’s health benefits were used in September 2017 for an emergency visit to a Wyoming hospital, and then never utilized again.

Investigators believe Ralph Gritman died in or about October 2017, with Timothy Gritman concealing the death from family members and disposing of Ralph’s body in an unknown manner. As Ralph Gritman was never reported deceased, his SSA and pension benefits continued to be paid into a joint account with the defendant from approximately October 2017 to October 2022.

In that time, the defendant made many false statements to government officials to conceal his fraud and enable him to continue stealing government funds, even physically posing as his father numerous times, using makeup to look older.

To date, the defendant refuses to divulge the whereabouts of his father’s remains, which, despite numerous searches, have not been found.

“Timothy Gritman chose dollars and cents over a dignified death for his dad,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “He had been living off of his father Ralph’s retirement benefits for years, even before his father’s passing — and after it, went to significant lengths to keep that money coming in. With today’s sentence, he’s finally being made to answer for his criminal greed.”

“For several years, Mr. Gritman intentionally concealed his father’s passing in a ploy to collect his pension and social security payments,” said Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Philadelphia. “Today’s sentencing is a reminder that the FBI, alongside our partners, will continue our work to hold those to account who engage in these fraud schemes.”

“Timothy Gritman schemed to obtain the Social Security retirement benefits intended for his deceased father. His behavior is unacceptable, and this sentence holds him accountable for his criminal actions,” said Gail S. Ennis, Inspector General for the Social Security Administration. “I thank our law enforcement partners and the New York State Comptroller’s Office for their efforts in investigating, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Megan Curran for prosecuting this case.”

“For over five years, Timothy Gritman orchestrated a sometimes elaborate scheme to steal his deceased father’s Social Security benefits,” said Christopher Nielsen, Postal Inspector in Charge of the Philadelphia Division of the Postal Inspection Service. “In doing so, he concealed from the government and his extended family that his father had passed away.  Even at sentencing, Mr. Gritman refused to close the door for his family and investigators and identify the whereabouts of his father’s body. This man not only harmed the Social Security system, but he also brought pain upon his extended family. We are pleased to have assisted the United States Attorney’s Office, the Social Security Office of Inspector General, and the FBI in this investigation, and through our collective efforts, bring some closure to the Gritman family, and to protect the Social Security system.”

“Timothy Gritman shamelessly hid his own father’s death, going so far as to attempt to disguise himself as him in order to collect his pension and Social Security payments for more than four years,” said New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. “Thanks to the work of my investigative team and our partners in law enforcement, he has been held accountable. My office will continue to bring anyone who seeks to defraud the pension system to justice.”

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Social Security Administration – Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the New York State Office of the Comptroller and is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Megan Curran.

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