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Aug 07, 2023
Stavros Tsakonis Collected More than $160,000 in Disability Benefits while Employed as a Plumber Using His Deceased Brother’s Name (SUFFOLK COUNTY, N.Y.) – Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond A. Tierney today announced that Stavros Tsakonis, 61, of Shirley, pleaded guilty to Identity Theft, Grand Larceny, and other related charges, after stealing the identity of his deceased brother, U.S. Army and Vietnam War veteran Chris Tsakonis, in order to continue working while still receiving disability benefits. “Greed led this defendant to exploit the death of his brother, so that he could work under his brother’s name and simultaneously claim a full disability under his own name,” said District Attorney Tierney. “Instead of respecting his brother’s memory, this defendant used the opportunity to start a plumbing business and purchase vehicles, while lining his own pockets with fraudulently obtained taxpayer funds for a supposed disability.” “This 8-month-long investigation uncovered this scam artist’s scheme to work under the identity of his deceased veteran brother while obtaining over $160,000 in fraudulent disability benefits,” said Suffolk County Sheriff Errol D. Toulon, Jr. “I applaud the Suffolk Sheriff’s Office Investigators; District Attorney’s Office and all of our law enforcement partners for their collaboration to expose this man’s abuse of a system meant to help those in need.” 2 According to court documents and the defendant’s admissions during his guilty plea allocution, from February 2015 to January 2023, Stavros Tsakonis stole more than $160,000 in disability benefits by falsely claiming to the U.S. Social Security Administration that he was disabled and could not work. However, during this time, the defendant continued working and earning income as a plumber while using the personal identifying information of his deceased brother, Chris Tsakonis. On January 25, 2023, Stavros Tsakonis was observed entering the Social Security Administration’s office in Patchogue using the assistance of a walker. After completing a form claiming that he had not worked since February 1989 and re-affirming he was disabled, the defendant was surveilled while walking unaided, without the assistance of any person or device. A review of the defendant’s financial records, combined with multiple law enforcement surveillances, revealed that he was gainfully employed as a plumber and has earned income as far back as February 2015, under the name of Chris Tsakonis, who passed away in 2012. Tsakonis further admitted to fraudulently filing paperwork with the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles in order to obtain a driver’s license and register several vehicles in the name of “Chris Tsakonis.” He also admitted to filing fraudulent documentation with the Suffolk County of Consumer Affairs office to apply for and renew a Master Plumbing License in his brother’s name, as well as identifying himself as Chris Tsakonis during a traffic stop conducted by a member of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office. On July 26, 2023, Tsakonis pleaded guilty before Supreme Court Justice, the Honorable Richard Ambro, to the following charges: ? One count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a Class C felony; ? Twelve counts of Identity Theft in the First Degree, Class D felonies; ? Eight counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, Class D felonies; ? Three counts of Identity Theft in the Second Degree, Class E felonies; ? Three counts of Falsifying a Business Record in the First Degree, Class E felonies; 3 ? Two counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, Class E felonies; and ? One count of Criminal Impersonation in the Second Degree, a Class A misdemeanor. Tsakonis is due back in court on October 3, 2023, and is expected to be sentenced to six months in jail followed by five years of probation. As required by the conditions of his plea, Tsakonis is also required to pay $169, 333 in restitution to the U.S. Social Security Administration. He is being represented by Michael Brown, Esq. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Tara Fairgrieve of the Financial Crime Bureau, with investigative assistance from members of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, the Suffolk County Police Department, the United States Social Security Administration, the Office of Inspector General, and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. 

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