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      Couple pleads guilty to theft of government funds

      Joseph Phillip Curto, 59, and Catherine Curto, 53, both of Conway, pleaded guilty in federal court in Florence to theft of government funds, United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated.

      Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that in July 1992, Joseph Curto began receiving Social Security Disability benefits for a back injury. At the same time, he also began receiving Ohio Workers Compensation Benefits.

      In February of 2011, an investigator with the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation and a Social Security Administration agent began investigating and determined that Joseph Curto had been working at various jobs since November 2001.

      Joseph Curto also married Catherine Curto in 2001 and Catherine Curto allowed Joseph to use her Social Security number when working.

      Joseph Curto's employers used Catherine Curto's social security number when filing 10-99's, thus allowing Joseph Curto to hide the fact that he was working.

      The Curto's were overpaid $155,618.00 by the Social Security Administration and $143,202.00 by Ohio Workers Compensation.

      Nettles stated the maximum penalty the Curto's can receive is a fine of $250,000.00 and/or imprisonment for 10 years, plus a special assessment of $100.00.

      The case was investigated by agents of the Social Security Administration. Assistant United States Attorney William E. Day, II, of the Florence office handled the case.