SAN DIEGO — A Poway man was handed a two-year prison sentence in a San Diego federal court Friday for concealing his mother’s death and stealing government benefits.
Donald Felix Zampach, 65, pleaded guilty to money laundering and Social Security fraud in June 2023, U.S. attorney Tara McGrath’s office noted in a press release.
According to his plea agreement, Zampach’s mother, who died in Japan in 1990, was receiving a widow’s pension from the Social Security Administration and an annuity from the Department of Defense (DoD).
Despite her death, Zampach admitted that he maintained his mother’s bank accounts for over three decades, while forging her signature on certificates of eligibility to keep her government benefits in pay. He also filed forged federal income taxes.
Zampach admitted that he received at least $830,238 between November 1990 and September 2022 that was intended for his mother.
On top that, Zampach admitted that he used his mother’s identity to fraudulently open credit accounts with at least nine financial institutions, causing losses of more than $28,000.
The attorney’s office said Zampach laundered the stolen money in part to pay off the mortgage on his Poway home.
“This is theft on a grand scale,” said McGrath. “Mr. Zampach stole from service members and those who dutifully pay into Social Security, expecting that when their time comes to retire, the money will be there. Thanks to the diligent efforts of our Social Security Administration partners, Mr. Zampach must pay back what he stole, and be held accountable for this decades-long crime.”
As part of the ruling, Zampach was ordered to pay $858,876.28 in restitution and to forfeit more than $830,000, including his home.