From the U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Florida:
A Fort Lauderdale woman was charged this morning in federal court with stealing Social Security benefits for over a decade.
Benjamin G. Greenberg, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Margaret Moore-Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Social Security Administration (SSA), Office of Inspector General, announce that Myriam Etienne, 49, of North Fort Lauderdale, was charged with 90 counts of theft of government funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641. The defendant had her initial appearance today in Fort Lauderdale Federal Court.
According to information presented in court, the defendant falsely obtained Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for her grandfather, who died in 2003 and her grandmother, who died in 2008, after their respective deaths, until June 2016. The Social Security Administration administers numerous programs to provide for the material needs of individuals and their families, including SSI. Monthly benefits are paid to eligible individuals. Court records reflect that these benefits were paid to the defendant’s grandmother and grandfather. The funds were direct deposited into a joint bank account the defendant shared with her deceased grandparents. After her grandmother’s and grandfather’s deaths, the defendant received approximately $125,000 in payments from the SSA.
If convicted, the defendant faces a potential penalty of up to ten years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine and restitution as to each count.
Mr. Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of SSA’s Office of Inspector General. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randy Katz.