Press Release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Georgia:
ATLANTA - Cathy Thomas has been arraigned in federal court on charges arising out of a scheme to obtain benefits that should have been used for a disabled, mentally incompetent beneficiary.
“This Defendant was entrusted with the responsibility of making certain that the Social Security benefits were used to care for this defenseless woman who was unable to care for herself, and could not even communicate her name to others" said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. "Instead, the Defendant stole her money and let her languish in various hospitals where they did not even know her true identity."
“The Office of the Inspector General has no higher priority than the protection of those Social Security beneficiaries least able to defend themselves,” said Thomas Caul, Special Agent in Charge, of the Office of the Inspector General for the Social Security Administration. “Representative payees are appointed to ensure the well-being of a beneficiary when the beneficiary is unable to administer his or her own affairs, and the violation of that trust will be prosecuted. We are gratified to see this case brought to a successful conclusion, and appreciative of the U.S. Attorney’s commitment to helping us protect those most in need.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the indictment, and other information presented in court: In August 2010, an unidentified, mentally incompetent woman was abandoned at an Alabama hospital emergency room. Because she was unable to communicate she remained unidentified until August 2013, when the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, working in connection with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, was able to identify her. The Social Security Administration (SSA) determined that the woman was a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiary. They further determined that Cathy Thomas was the woman’s representative payee, and was continuing to receive the woman’s monthly SSI benefits.
Thomas, 59, of Douglasville, Ga. was arraigned on February 7, 2014, on an indictment that charged her with one count of wire fraud in violation of Title 18 USC Section 1343, three counts of false statements to a federal agency in violation of Title 18 USC Section 1001, and one count of representative payee fraud in violation of Title 42 USC Section 1383a(a)(4).
Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
This case is being investigated by the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General. Special Assistant United States Attorney Diane C. Schulman is prosecuting the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division is http://www.justice.gov/usao/gan/.