Wisconsin Woman Sentenced to 6 Months in Jail for Stealing Son's Social Security Disability Payments

Date: 
Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Article from the Wausau Daily Herald here

A Weston woman who stole more than $52,000 of her son’s Social Security disability payments and then gambled most of it away was sentenced in federal court Monday to six months in jail.

Susan Schepp, 54, who previously pleaded guilty to a theft charge in the case, took the money from 2001 to 2006, long after her son, identified in court only as Jonathan, was working and supporting himself and no longer eligible for Social Security assistance, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Anderson.

“Most significant was that she took the money every month for five years and intercepted letters from Social Security Administration that his benefit was being reduced,” Anderson said.

Schepp did not inform her son about the theft until the Social Security Administration was about to begin garnishing his wages to recoup money it paid out after the son returned to work, Anderson said.

Jonathan graduated from high school in 2002 and worked two jobs in the Wausau area before moving to the eastern part of the state where he continued working, according to court documents.

Schepp had the benefit checks deposited into a joint account with her son, which she falsely told him she had closed. Instead, Schepp transferred the stolen funds into her personal account from which she often made withdrawals at casinos, said Anderson.

The theft so damaged the mother-son relationship that Jonathan asked District Judge Barbara Crabb to impose a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Schepp’s attorney, Morris Berman, asked that Schepp be sentenced to probation, saying it had been granted in cases involving more money and that a prison sentence would deprive Jonathan’s twin brother, Joseph, of his mother, who also is his main caregiver.

Berman noted that Schepp has already repaid about $42,000 of the stolen money.

Schepp apologized for her offense and told Crabb she hoped to one day repair the relationship with her son, but Crabb said Schepp compounded the theft by gambling away a significant amount of what she stole.

Crabb ordered Schepp into immediate custody.