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Press Release

Woman Receives Prison TimeFor Defrauding Social Security Administration

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Michigan

Rita Marie Strickland, 57, was sentenced to a custodial sentence of a year and a day by U.S. District Judge Thomas L. Ludington yesterday in federal court in Bay City, Michigan, announced United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade.

Srickland, a resident at various times of Saginaw and Bay City, Michigan, had previously pleaded guilty to embezzling public funds from the Social Security Administration.

According to court records, Strickland shared a bank account with her father when her father died in December of 1994.  As the designated payee for her father’s Social Security benefits, Strickland continued to receive monthly deposits made by Social Security into that shared account until December of 2010.  For sixteen years, Strickland withdrew the funds that had been deposited by Social Security for her father’s benefit and used the money herself.  Strickland also took $250 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds deposited into the same account by the U.S. Treasury on behalf of her father.  As a result, Strickland was ordered to pay a total of $154,196.80 in restitution to the United States.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service office in Saginaw and the Office of Inspector General for the Social Security Administration in Detroit.  The prosecution was handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Bay City, Michigan.

During his sentencing hearing, Klosowski told the court that his drug addiction led him to and kept him involved in drug trafficking.  Judge Ludington noted that Kloswski had been convicted six times over a period of a few years, but had not completed any of the court-ordered drug treatment programs that had been made available to Klosowski as a result of those convictions.  The judge observed that Klosowski’s addiction victimized not just the defendant, but so clouded Klosowski’s judgment that everyone else became disposable to the defendant, even his own son.  Judge Ludington concluded the sentencing hearing by telling Klosowski that, given his current age, he will have a life to live after serving his lengthy sentence and recommending to Klosowski that he use the time in custody to prepare himself to make the best use of the life that will follow his release from custody.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Mid-Michigan Safe Streets Task Force embedded in the FBI field office located in Bay City, Michigan.  The public was represented in court by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Bay City, Michigan.

Updated March 19, 2015