In a press release from the Department of Justice, United States Attorney Kenneth Elser from the Western District of Arkansas announced that Jon Michael Vastelica, age 62 of Greenwood, Arkansas, was sentenced today to 77 months in federal prison to be followed by three years of supervised release on one count each of Theft of Government Funds, Aggravated Identity Theft, and Felon in Possession of a Firearm. In addition, restitution was imposed in the amount of $259,891. The Honorable P.K. Holmes, III, presided over the sentencing in the United States District Court in Fort Smith.
According to court records, in approximately 1992, Vastelica became the recipient of Title II Social Security benefits for claimed disabilities. During this same period, he obtained and assumed the identity of a deceased person which he used to obtain employment and earned wages which were not reported to the Social Security Administration. Due to his continuous employment and earning of gross wages under the stolen identity, he was not entitled to disability benefits from the Social Security Administration during this time period. In total, the loss to the Social Security Administration was approximately $259,891.
As a part of the investigation, federal and state law enforcement agents executed a search and arrest warrant at Vastelica’s home on February 2, 2016. Upon making contact with the defendant, law enforcement discovered a revolver in the defendant’s pocket. During the search of his residence and motorhome, law enforcement located a total of fifteen firearms, most of which were loaded. Vastelica later admitted to owning the firearms and having purchased them using the stolen identity. Having previously been convicted of a felony, Vastelica was subsequently charged with Felon in Possession of a Firearm.
Vastelica was indicted by a federal grand jury in January, 2016 and pleaded guilty to the charges on June 15, 2016.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorney Sydney Butler prosecuted the case for the United States.