FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
For Information Contact:
District Woman Pleads Guilty to Social Security Fraud
- Admits Providing False Information and Stealing Benefits Intended For Her Daughter -
WASHINGTON - Celeste Davis, 53, of Washington, D.C. pled guilty today to a charge of defrauding the Social Security Administration in order to receive over $54,000 in disability benefits to which she was not entitled, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
Davis pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to a felony charge of making false statements to the Social Security Administration (SSA) for use in determining benefits. The Honorable Robert L. Wilkins scheduled sentencing for July 13, 2012. The charge carries a statutory penalty of up to five years in prison, and a fine of up to $250,000. As part of the guilty plea, Davis has agreed to pay full restitution to the federal government.
According to a statement of offense submitted to the Court, Davis applied for Social Security survivor’s benefits in 2003 on behalf of her daughter, whose father had served in the military before his death. Davis sought to be appointed as a “representative payee” because her daughter was a minor, and represented that she would use the payments for the benefit of her daughter. In March 2004, Davis’s daughter was removed from her care. Davis did not notify the Social Security Administration of this change in circumstance, and instead, she continued to submit reports to SSA in which she falsely represented that her daughter remained in her home, and that the Social Security benefits she received were being spent solely for her care.
Davis’s false representations to the Social Security Administration caused the agency to make overpayments of benefits in the amount of $54,750 between April 2004 and June 2008. Davis used the money she received to pay for her own personal expenses.
In announcing the guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Machen praised the efforts of Special Agent Conor Washington of the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, who investigated the case. He also commended the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorney Allison Barlotta, who prosecuted the case.