Montz Woman Charged with Theft of Government Funds
June 21, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 17, 2021
From the U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana:
NEW ORLEANS – United States Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that IGEL CASANOVA GIBBINS (“GIBBINS”), age 43, of Montz, Louisiana, was charged on June 15, 2021 by a Bill of Information for Theft of Government Funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641.
According to the Bill of Information, the case against IGEL CASANOVA GIBBINS (“GIBBINS”) began after the State of Louisiana complied with a request from the Social Security Administration (SSA) to provide the SSA with death data of approximately 1.6 million Social Security number holders who had died in Louisiana from January 1, 1979, through December 31, 2019. As part of that data, the State of Louisiana disclosed that D.C., a participant in the SSA’s Retirement Survivor Insurance program (“RSI Program”), died on or about August 16, 2012.
Unaware of D.C.’s death, the SSA erroneously released approximately $202,417.00 in RSI Program funds from August 2012 through December 2020, via automatic wire transfers (i.e., direct deposit) to D.C.’s jointly held Capital One Bank (“Capital One”) account. GIBBINS, D.C.’s daughter, was a joint account holder of the Capital One account. D.C.’s RSI Program benefits were not transferrable to GIBBINS. Following the automatic deposit of RSI Program benefits, GIBBINS accessed the funds and wrongfully converted the funds to her own personal use, depleting nearly all account funds. The funds were used on purchase transactions or transfers out of the account to pay bills, for example, such as for mortgage payments and vehicle loan payments. GIBBINS never advised the SSA of D.C.’s death.
The SSA determined that GIBBINS fraudulently obtained $200,396 in (SSA) disability benefits from her father’s Capital One Bank account.
U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans reiterated that the Bill of Information is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted, GIBBINS faces a maximum penalty of ten (10) years imprisonment, followed by up to three (3) years of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000.00, and a mandatory $100 special assessment.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office would also like to acknowledge the assistance of the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General with this matter. The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian M. Klebba, Chief of the Financial Crimes Unit and Assistant U.S. Attorney Paige O’Hale.