United States Attorney Edward L. Stanton, III, and Guy P. Fallen, Special Agent in Charge, Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General, announced today that Christine Crews, 52, of Oakland, TN; John Parker, 75, of Memphis, TN; Peggy Brewer, 76, of Memphis, TN; Bettye Mems, 63, of Memphis, TN; Lewis Page, 83, of Memphis, TN; Gwendolyn Conard, 52, of Memphis, TN; and Charles Ellman, 55, of Memphis, TN; have been charged in an indictment with theft of government funds, making false statements, mail fraud, and social security fraud.
More than a year ago, SSA, in partnership with the Department of Justice, began a fraud prosecution project focusing on federal benefits fraud. The prosecution project has been a tremendous success and has returned countless dollars to the Social Security Trust Fund. The investigation into those charged in the indictment announced today focused on deceased individuals whose Social Security Retirement benefits continued after death, because SSA was not notified of their death.
SSA-OIG worked closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in pursuing prosecution of the individuals found to have withdrawn this money from the accounts of the deceased beneficiaries. The investigations revealed in each case where a family member was the culprit, the funds were withdrawn directly from the deceased’s bank account or the SSA checks were forged and cashed each month.
“The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to helping maintain the integrity of the Social Security Program for seniors who have rightfully earned these benefits,” said United States Attorney Edward L. Stanton, III. “Our office will continue to partner with the Social Security Administration-Office of Inspector General in identifying and vigorously prosecuting those that would attempt to defraud the federal government.”
“The Office of the Inspector General will continue to investigate all allegations of fraud and abuse and assist the United States Attorney’s Office in bringing violators to justice,” said Guy P. Fallen, Special Agent-in-Charge, Social Security Administration-Office of the Inspector General.
The case is being investigated by the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Justin Bailey, Brian Coleman, and John Fabian on behalf of the government.