Fitzgerald Resident Convicted Of Embezzling More Than $79,000 In Social Security Benefits
Larry T. Hyman, age 59, of Fitzgerald, Georgia, was convicted, following a 3-day jury trial, of conspiracy to embezzle government monies, on October 7, 2015, in the United States District Court in Albany. Senior United States District Court Judge W. Louis Sands presided over the trial.
Codefendant Gussie Scott pleaded guilty to the same charge on June 9, 2014 and is awaiting sentencing.
Mr. Hyman and Ms. Scott were charged with conspiracy to embezzle $79,826 in Social Security benefits from a deceased person, “W.B.”. For a period of almost eight years after W.B.’s death in 2005, Mr. Hyman, who had his name added as a joint signatory to W.B.’s Bank of America account, continued to withdraw and spend W.B.’s Social Security benefits.
The evidence presented at trial showed that in mid-November 2013 a representative of the Social Security Administration sent letters and made phone calls to W.B. in an attempt to verify his status. Ms. Scott spoke by telephone to the representative from the Social Security Administration. She falsely stated that her name was “Cindy Jones” and that she was a niece of W.B. Ms. Scott further stated that W.B. was not at home, but that she would have him call the Social Security representative back later in the day. The government’s evidence at trial showed that Mr. Hyman knew of Ms. Scott’s call to the Social Security Administration and that he continued to make ATM withdrawals from W. B.’s account after the call.
U.S. Attorney Michael Moore said, “Mr. Hyman stole money intended as benefits for those who spent a lifetime investing in the Social Security program. He enriched himself at the expense of our senior citizens and children and families with severe medical needs and issues. Social security is intended to provide succor and support for the deserving and the needy, not the greedy and avaricious. My office shall continue to work hand in hand with the Social Security Administration in hand to bring to justice those like Mr. Hyman, who steal from the deserving to enrich themselves.”
“The Social Security Office of the Inspector General has no higher priority than the investigation and prosecution of those who violate the public’s trust by failing to report Social Security beneficiary deaths and continuing to receive the deceased’s benefits. I’m grateful that the U.S. Attorney’s Office shares our determination to protect the integrity of the SSA’s programs for those who rely on them now and into the future,” stated Special Agent-in-Charge Margaret Moore-Jackson.
“The U.S. Secret Service takes seriously the theft of government monies and will take appropriate investigative steps when such acts are committed against the U.S. Treasury. This cooperative effort between the Social Security Office of the Inspector General, the U.S. Secret Service, and the United States Attorney’s Office tells those who may commit such acts that there is always a price to pay for defrauding the hardworking tax payers of this nation,” said Resident Agent In Charge Clint Bush.
The case was investigated by the Social Security Office of the Inspector General and the United States Secret Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Crane prosecuted the case for the Government.
Questions concerning this case should be directed to Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2603.