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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 20, 2018

Lead Singer Of Band Pleads Guilty To Fraud

Fort Myers, Florida – Julia S. Kouragian (60, Sebring), also known as “Julia Newell” and “Jewels,” today pleaded guilty to four counts of mail fraud and four counts of wire fraud. She faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison on each count. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to court documents, Kouragian was employed by the U.S. Postal Service beginning in 1980. In 1996, she claimed that she was injured while working and subsequently began receiving federal workers’ compensation benefits, including full pay. In order to continue receiving benefits, she was required to report any improvements in her medical condition or her ability to work or maintain a level of employment.

It was later discovered that even though Kouragian claimed that she was physically unable to perform activities associated with walking, sitting, and standing for more than 15 minutes at a time, she had, from at least 2012 through July 2017, performed as the lead singer in a band and also handled the bookings and merchandise sales for the group. She failed to disclose these changes to her treating physicians. As a result of the fraud, she received more than $166,000 in federal workers’ compensation benefits.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Yolande G. Viacava.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated April 23, 2018