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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Delaware

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, December 5, 2016

Delaware Woman Sentenced to One Year in Prison for $145,000+ Embezzlement From Disabled Sister

WILMINGTON, Del. - Charles M. Oberly, III, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced that Rachel Woodall, age 40, of Wilmington, Delaware, was sentenced today by the Honorable Richard G. Andrews, United States District Judge for the District of Delaware, to twelve months and one day in prison, and full restitution.  The defendant pleaded guilty to conversion of Social Security benefits in January.

According to court filings and statements made at the sentencing hearing, the defendant was the representative payee—responsible for caring for finances—for her intellectually disabled sister. In November, 2014, when her sister received large sums in back Social Security benefits, the defendant began embezzling from her sister.  The defendant abused her position of trust to spend money on herself: she bought two Mercedes vehicles, wrote a $25,000 check to her own business, and made a number of withdrawals that she ultimately deposited in her own bank account—one as large as $51,000.  In one 48-hour span in 2014, the defendant managed to spend or transfer almost $100,000 of her sister’s benefits.  The defendant continued to make withdrawals on her sister’s bank account after pleading guilty in January.

U.S. Attorney Oberly stated, “This was an ongoing abuse of trust, in which Ms. Woodall took advantage of her position of power over her disabled sister. We take crimes victimizing the disabled very seriously, and they should be punished accordingly.”

“The Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General (SSA OIG) is committed to investigating and pursuing individuals suspected of representative payee fraud,” said Michael McGill, Special Agent-in-Charge of the SSA OIG, Office of Investigations, Philadelphia Field Division. “Representative payee fraud is an egregious offense, not only because it involves the misuse of government benefits and other funds, but because it can cause severe harm and distress to some of the most vulnerable members of society, including the disabled and the elderly.”

This case was investigated by the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General, and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Alexander Mackler and Jennifer Hall.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated December 5, 2016