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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 25, 2019

Citrus County Woman Pleads Guilty To Theft Of Government Funds And Making False Statements To The Social Security Administration

Ocala, Florida – Ruth S. Sprake (60, Crystal River) today pleaded guilty to theft of government funds and making false statements to the Social Security Administration (SSA). She faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison for the theft offense and up to 5 years’ imprisonment for the false statements charge. Sprake was indicted on November 7, 2018. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to the plea agreement, Sprake is a former rural route carrier for the United States Postal Service (USPS). Since September 2002, she has been receiving full workers’ compensation disability benefits from the Department of Labor (DOL) for a work-related injury. Each year, since 2013, Sprake was required to submit a report to the DOL detailing her sources of income and any employment activities. However, from 2013-2018, Sprake failed to report her income from her dog-breeding business, as well as her clerical work for a real estate company. As a result, Sprake obtained more than $192,000 in benefit payments to which she was not entitled.

Further investigation revealed that, in December 2015, Sprake also made false written statements to the SSA in which she had underreported her personal and household income in an effort to obtain increased disability benefit payments from that agency.    

This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Service – Office of the Inspector General and the Social Security Administration – Office of the Inspector General.  It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert E. Bodnar, Jr.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated March 26, 2019