Louisiana Man Pleads Guilty to Dogfighting Conspiracy - Six Other Defendants Involved in the Animal Fighting Venture Have Already Been Convicted
BATON ROUGE, LA –United States Attorney Walt Green announced that MITCHELL STERLING HOLMES, age 43, of Port Allen, Louisiana, pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Shelly D. Dick to making false statements to a Federal agency, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001. The sentencing date has not yet been set.
During the guilty plea hearing, HOLMES admitted that, after being appointed as an authorized payee for Social Security Administration (SSA) benefits on behalf of his minor child, he submitted a required report to the SSA that falsely stated, among other things, that he used benefit payments paid to him on behalf of his minor child when, in fact, he did not use the payments for the care and support of said child. HOLMES admitted that, as a result of his false statements, he caused a loss to the SSA of almost $90,000.00.
U.S. Attorney Green stated: “Federal benefit programs are often critical to ensuring that children in need, the elderly, and those struck by disaster are afforded a safety net – a fact that the Baton Rouge region knows all too well after the recent flooding. Defrauding these programs, and by extension the taxpayers who pay for them, is outrageous and will not be tolerated. Fraudsters not only take money from the programs, but their actions threaten to distract from the programs’ positive results. My office will continue to work with the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General and our other federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, to aggressively pursue such matters.”
Special Agent-in-Charge Robert G. Feldt of the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, stated: “The Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, will continue to tirelessly investigate and bring to justice those that commit benefit fraud and misuse their position of trust to victimize children.”
This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Dallas Field Division of the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Paul L. Pugliese.