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East Alton woman charged with stealing disabled daughter's Social Security

The mother has been taking SSI funds since her daughter went to live with the woman's ex-husband in 2008
Credit: DNY59

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — A federal grand jury in East St. Louis, Ill., indicted Melissa D. Wasylak, 48, of East Alton, Friday on charges of stealing Supplemental Security Income funds intended for her disabled daughter. The indictment also charges Wasylak with wire fraud and making false statements on forms submitted to the Social Security Administration.

Wasylak applied for her daughter to receive SSI benefits and was appointed as her representative payee. According to the indictment, in 2008, Wasylak’s daughter stopped living with her and went to live with Wasylak’s ex-husband. Wasylak still was receiving her daughter’s SSI funds but did not use them for her daughter’s expenses, instead using the money for her own expenses. This allegedly continued until the situation was reported to the SSA in May 2019.

Wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The maximum punishment for theft of government funds is 10 years’ imprisonment. Making a false statement on a Social Security form carries a five-year statutory maximum term of imprisonment. Each of the charges comes with a possible fine of up to $250,000, and Wasylak could also be ordered to pay restitution.

Wasylak is scheduled to be arraigned by US Magistrate Judge Gilbert C. Sison on April 5 at the federal courthouse in East St. Louis.

The investigation was conducted by the SSA – Office of the Inspector General. 

RELATED: Former St. Charles corporate executive sentenced for fraudulently using company credit card for luxury baseball tickets

About a month earlier, a 45-year-old St. Charles woman was sentenced to 30 months in prison after fraudulently using a St. Louis company's credit card. 

Tara Sabatini pleaded guilty last October to one count of wire fraud.