News and Press Releases

Dillon Woman Pleads Guilty to Social Security Fraud

June 5, 2013

Contact Person: Beth Drake (803) 929-3000

Columbia, South Carolina -----United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Emma Bowens, age 62, of Dillon, South Carolina, pled guilty in federal court in Florence, to theft of government funds, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641. United States District Judge R. Bryan Harwell of Florence accepted the plea and will impose sentence after he has reviewed the presentence report which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.

Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that Bowens lived with her mother, Tenner Townsend, who died on May 31, 2010. Townsend was receiving Social Security Retirement Insurance benefits at the time of her death, and Bowens failed to report the death. Instead, Bowens continued to cash the Social Security checks by signing her mother’s name to the checks. At the time the Social Security Administration discovered the death in August 2012, an overpayment of $23,873.00 had been made.
Mr. Nettles stated the maximum penalty Bowens can receive is a fine of $250,000.00 and/or imprisonment for 10 years, plus a special assessment of $100.00.

The case was investigated by agents of the Social Security Administration. Assistant United States Attorney William E. Day, II of the Florence office handled the case.


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