Lindsey Williams Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Helena, on May 23, 2012, before Senior U.S. District Judge Charles C. Lovell, LINDSEY WILLIAMS, a 29-year-old resident of Helena, pled guilty to Social Security fraud. Sentencing has been set for September 11, 2012. She is currently released on special conditions.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paulette L. Stewart, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
From September 2007 through November 2009, WILLIAMS misrepresented that her step-daughter, a minor, lived with her during this time and received Social Security survivor benefits on behalf of her step-daughter. In reality, the step-daughter lived with WILLIAMS for two or three months prior to September 2007. After September 2007, the step-daughter lived with her mother. The step-daughter did not know that WILLIAMS applied for survivor benefits on her behalf, nor did she know that WILLIAMS had deigned herself as her representative payee. None of the money collected by WILLIAMS was used for the care of the step-daughter.
When questioned, WILLIAMS did admit that it was wrong not to notify SSA when the step-daughter moved out and that it was wrong to collect food stamps on behalf of the step-daughter. WILLIAMS knew that she was required to report that she was not living with her. However WILLIAMS would not admit that the step-daughter did not live with her as far back as September 2007. WILLIAMS claimed that the step-daughter moved out in November 2007 briefly but then returned. WILLIAMS then claimed that she moved out in July 2010, and changed that again to January 2010.
The step-daughter as well as her mother confirmed that she did not live with WILLIAMS after August 2007 but instead lived with her mother. Her mother provided financially for her at all times - no financial support came from WILLIAMS.
Also during the above time period, WILLIAMS claimed the step-daughter on her taxes for Earned Income Credit and received Food Stamps on her behalf. After talking to SSA, the step-daughter filed a police report against WILLIAMS for identity theft and fraud. The step-daughter is no longer a minor child.
WILLIAMS faces possible penalties of 5 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Social Security Administration - Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Office of Inspector General, the Helena Police Department, and the U.S. Department of Interior - Bureau of Land Management Law Enforcement.