PHOENIX –Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced today a State Grand Jury indicted a former employee at the Phoenix Rescue Mission on allegations of stealing social security benefits from a homeless man. Sergio Solorzano is facing four felony charges of Fraudulent Schemes & Artifices, Theft, Taking the Identity of Another, and Unlawful Use of an Access Device. Special Agents with the Attorney General’s Office believe there could be additional victims who have yet to come forward.
The indictment alleges Solorzano stole $24,499.40 of social security benefits from a 69 year old homeless man from January 2013 to October 2015. The victim lived at the Phoenix Rescue Mission (PRM) for the past 11 years. PRM is a non-profit organization that offers services for homeless men and women. According to the victim’s family, the victim trusted Solorzano, who was an employee at PRM since 2002. Solorzano was an administrative assistant and had access to all personal identifying information of all the residents living at PRM.
According to social security and bank records, the victim received $723 per month in benefits. The money was pre-loaded on a debit card that was mailed to the victim each month at PRM. Solorzano, as part of his duties at PRM, received all the mail. Solorzano allegedly stole the victim’s social security benefits by withdrawing the $732 pre-loaded on a debit card monthly.
The victim’s family discovered the missing benefits when they recently reunited with him and attempted to assist the victim in setting up benefits through Social Security. Solorzano originally denied any wrongdoing when confronted by his supervisors at the PRM but when confronted by Special Agents with the Attorney General’s Office, Solorzano allegedly confessed to stealing the money over the past few years.
Solorzano is currently in custody with a $3500 secured bond and an ICE hold.
All defendants are presumed innocent until convicted in a court of law.
Special Agent Madison McDonald with the Attorney General’s Special Investigations Unit is the lead investigator on this case.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Shawn Steinberg.
Anyone with information on this case should contact the Arizona Attorney General's Office at (602) 542-8888. Members of the media may contact Mia Garcia, Director of Media Relations at (602) 339-5895 or Mia.Garcia@azag.gov.
Full copy of the indictment.