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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Bertha Croom Convicted Of Stealing Over $125,000 from Social Security Administration

BATON ROUGE, LA – United States Attorney Walt Green announced that Bertha Augustus Croom, age 60, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, pled guilty on Monday, July 6, 2015 before United States District Judge Shelly Dick to defrauding the U.S. Social Security Administration for more than a decade.

Croom pled guilty to a Bill of Information which alleged that she stole and converted to her own use $127,137 in Retirement Survivor Insurance funds of the Social Security Administration (“SSA”), which she received in the name of her deceased mother.  The funds were stolen over the course of 18 years. The government funds misappropriated were retirement survivor funds to which Croom’s mother was entitled, as long as she was alive.

On multiple occasions, Croom falsely represented to SSA that her mother was alive, residing with her, and that she (Croom) was expending the government retirement survivor funds for the benefit of her mother.  The funds were disbursed by SSA and collected by Croom beginning on or about March 3, 1995 and continuing through January 3, 2013.  According to the East Baton Rouge Coroner’s Office, however, Croom’s mother had died on February 8, 1995.

On multiple occasions between 2011 and 2013, Croom submitted Verification Forms to SSA in which she falsely represented that her mother resided with her (Croom).  Additionally, Croom advised SSA in writing that she (Croom) and her mother used the SSA payments to share the cost of living together.

This matter was investigated by the Office of Inspector General for the Social Security Administration.  It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney René Salomon.

Updated July 14, 2015