Sioux Falls Woman Sentenced for Theft of Government Funds

Date: 
Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Office Affiliation: 

From the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Dakota:

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Sioux Falls, South Dakota, woman convicted of Theft of Government Funds was sentenced on November 26, 2019, by U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier.

Sina Crowe, age 32, was sentenced to 3 years of probation, $14,222.10 in restitution to the Social Security Administration, and a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $100.

Crowe was indicted by a federal grand jury on July 9, 2019.  She pled guilty on August 22, 2019.

The conviction stemmed from an incident between, on, or about July 1, 2017, and April 1, 2019, when Crowe willfully and knowingly embezzled, stole, purloined, and converted to her own use, money from departments or agencies of the United States, namely, Title XVI program benefits payments made to her deceased grandmother, Sharon Black Bear.  The Title XVI program is administered by the United States Social Security Administration (SSA),

In approximately January 1999, Crowe’s grandmother began to receive Title XVI supplemental security income (SSI) benefits.  She was her own payee.  In February 2017, Crowe’s grandmother moved in with Crowe and her three minor children.  At that time, Crowe’s grandmother was receiving her benefits payment via paper U.S. Treasury checks.

Crowe’s grandmother died on June 11, 2017 and SSA was not notified of her death. From July 1, 2017, through May 1, 2018, her benefits checks continued to be issued and mailed to Crowe’s address in Sioux Falls.  Crowe received and negotiated these checks by either endorsing the checks in her own name or forging her deceased grandmother’s name.  Crowe used the funds for her own purposes.

On May 10, 2018, SSA mailed a notice to Crowe’s grandmother confirming that the benefits payments would be deposited on a Direct Express card instead of being issued via paper check.   The Direct Express card was issued in the grandmother’s name and was mailed to Crowe’s address in Sioux Falls.  From June 1, 2018, through April 1, 2019, the payments were deposited on the Direct Express card.  Crowe received the card and used the funds for her own purposes.

This case was investigated by the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann M. Hoffman prosecuted the case.