Florida Man Sentenced for Role in Social Security Scheme and Aggravated ID Theft
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Guy P. Fallen, Special Agent in Charge, Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General (OIG), announce today’s sentencing of defendant Jimmie Earl Brown, 48, of Miami-Dade, on one count of conspiracy to commit theft of government funds in connection with a social security fraud scheme, and one count of aggravated identity theft. Senior U.S. District Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley sentenced Brown to a total of 36 months in prison (24 months on the aggravated identity theft count, plus 12 months on the social security fraud charge), to be followed by 3 years of supervised release. In addition, Brown was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $3,284. Defendant Brown was charged on October 27, 2011. According to court documents and statements made in court, this investigation began in March 2011 when law enforcement discovered Social Security payments had continued in the name of the stolen identity long after the true Social Security beneficiary had died in 1995. In total, $74,799 was paid after the death of the original beneficiary. Continued investigation led to the discovery of a Broward County bank account that had been opened in February 2000, in the name of the deceased social security recipient. Social Security checks, and then direct deposit payments, payable to the deceased had been deposited regularly to that account. Co-defendant Robert Louis Stephens went to the bank in March 2011, and attempted to withdraw money from the account, but the bank had restricted the account once it came under suspicion. The bank told Stephens he was not a listed account holder, and that he would need to have the named account holder (the deceased recipient) add Stephens’s name to the bank’s record of authorized account users. Stephens returned to the bank with Jimmie Brown, who presented a false Florida identification card in the decedent’s name and pretended to be that person, in order to add Stephens to the account. On May 10, 2012, defendant Robert Louis Stephens was sentenced to time served and was ordered to pay $74,799 in restitution to the United States. Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General. Mr. Ferrer also thanked the United States Postal Inspection Service for their work on this investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karen Stewart and Theodore Cooperstein. A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.