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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 21, 2014

Eight Individuals Charged With Stealing Federal Benefits As Part Of Operation November Rain

Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the filing of federal charges against individuals in eight separate cases.  These individuals have been charged with stealing $767,949 in federal benefits to which they were not entitled. The penalty for stealing federal benefits or making false statements is up to 10 years in federal prison per count. These Middle District of Florida cases arose out of Operation November Rain, an operation initiated and overseen by the Social Security Administration - Office of Inspector General with assistance from multiple other federal and local law enforcement agencies.  

These cases were investigated and defendants were apprehended by the joint work of the Social Security Administration – Office of Inspector General, the United States Marshals Service, the United States Secret Service, the Department of Health and Human Services - Office of Inspector General, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, and the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office. These cases will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys throughout the Middle District of Florida, including Dale Campion, Malisa Chokshi, Mac Heavener, Jay Taylor, Robert Bodnar, and Embry Kidd.

An indictment is merely formal charges that a defendant has violated one or more federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

Operation November Rain Case Summaries

Edna Brown-Powell (58, Orlando) has been charged with theft of government funds.  According to the indictment, from January 2000 until February 2014, Brown-Powell fraudulently received $61,614 in Social Security benefits that were intended for her deceased father.

Larry Hallam (36, Lawtey) has been charged with theft of government funds.  According to the indictment, from September 2011 through September 2013, Hallam fraudulently received over $1,000 in Social Security benefits. 

Claudia Pellum Brooks (64, Baldwin) has been charged with theft of government funds. According to the indictment, between March 1993 and April 2014, Brooks fraudulently received Social Security and Medicaid benefits totaling approximately $208,517.

Kalen Amanda Kennedy (49, Inverness) has been charged with theft of government funds.  According to the indictment, from November 2009 until July 2014, Kennedy received $78,648 in Social Security benefits to which she was not entitled. 

Noel Hernandez (49, Davenport) has been charged with theft of government funds.  According to the indictment, from October 1999 through April 2014, Hernandez received $154,089.00 in Social Security benefits to which he was not entitled.

April Amanda Carter (35, Jacksonville) has been charged with theft of government funds. According to the indictment, between May 2012 and May 2014, Carter received $20,248 in Social Security and Medicaid benefits to which she was not entitled. She has also has been charged with three counts of making a false statement to a government agency. According to court documents, Carter falsely stated to the Social Security Administration that she was unemployed and raising her child on her own, when, as she knew, she was employed and raising her child along with her husband.

Sheila I. Hall Onley (56, Jacksonville) has been charged with theft of government funds.  According to the indictment, from December 2008 to March 2014, Onley fraudulently received $21,681 in Social Security benefits that were intended for her deceased mother.

Essie Mae Dye (75, Jasper) has been charged with theft of government funds.  According to the indictment, from May 1997 to March 2014, Dye fraudulently received $175,842.20 in Social Security benefits that were intended for her deceased mother. 

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Updated January 26, 2015