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Illinois Woman Sentenced to 14 Months in Prison for Theft of Social Security Benefits

March 08, 2022

From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Central District of Illinois:

URBANA, Ill. – A Kankakee, Illinois woman, Sharrie McInnis, 49, of the 1100 block of East Merchant Street, was sentenced on March 7, 2022, to 14 months of imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for theft of public money.

The government previously stated at McInnis’s change-of-plea hearing that McInnis had been claiming Title II Child-In-Care benefits for a grandchild that was not actually in her care. The total fraudulent benefits received amounted to $22,849.

At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Colin S. Bruce found that McInnis received additional improper Social Security payments under other titles, resulting in a total of $98,701.74 in overpayments. Judge Bruce ordered McInnis to pay full restitution to the Social Security Administration.

McInnis previously pleaded guilty to the one-count indictment in the case in October 2021. The statutory penalties for a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 641 are up to 10 years of imprisonment and up to three years of Supervised Release.

“Maintaining the integrity of the Social Security benefit system is critically important for the welfare of all who have paid into it,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Lynch, who represented the government in the prosecution.

“Ms. McInnis schemed to fraudulently obtain Social Security benefits. Her sentence demonstrates the commitment by our investigators and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to uphold the integrity of SSA’s programs by aggressively pursuing those who intend to defraud SSA,” said Andrew Boockmeier, Special Agent in Charge of the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General, Chicago Field Division, which investigated the case. “I thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office for prosecuting this case.”

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