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Erie Woman Admits Taking Her Deceased Father's Social Security Benefits

January 31, 2022

From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Pennsylvania:

ERIE, Pa. - A resident of Erie, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of theft of government property, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced today. Loraleigh Helen Barber, 51, Erie, Pennsylvania pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge Susan Paradise Baxter.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that from January 1, 2007 through August 2, 2019, Barber received $127,636 in Old Age, Survivor’s Disability Insurance benefits from the United States Social Security Administration, to which she knew she was not entitled. Ms. Barber had served as a representative payee for her father and after he died in December of 2006, yet she never advised the Social Security Administration and kept on receiving and spending the benefits intended for her father.

Judge Baxter scheduled sentencing for May 20, 2022 at 1:30 p.m. The law provides for a total sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Pending sentencing, the court continued Barber on bond.

Assistant United States Attorney Paul S. Sellers is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The United States Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Barber.

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