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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Washington County Man Sentenced for Stealing Social Security Funds

PANAMA CITY, FLORIDA – Lynwood Williams, 53, of Greenhead, Florida, was sentenced yesterday in United States District Court to six months in prison for theft of $63,284 in government funds.  The sentence was announced by Christopher P. Canova, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

In October 2006, Williams applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, falsely claiming that he suffered from an organic brain disorder.  During interviews with Social Security Administration (SSA) officials, Williams pretended to be mentally disabled, deliberately stuttering and acting as though he had great difficulty forming words.  In one interview, Williams was accompanied by a person who, at Williams’ direction, falsely claimed to be Williams’ cousin.  His “cousin” falsely claimed that Williams was unable to work due to his mental and speech limitations.  In a separate interview, one of Williams’ friends, who was designated as Williams’ representative payee, falsely told SSA officials that Williams was so severely handicapped that he could not take care of his daily needs and had to be supervised like a child.

In 2014, the SSA discovered YouTube videos in which Williams was performing comedy routines that clearly showed Williams did not suffer from a mental or speech impairment.  Postings on Facebook indicated that Williams did lawn work, pressure washing, and painting, when he was not working as a comedian.

Williams pled guilty on September 1, 2015.  As part of his sentence, he was ordered to pay $56,287 in restitution to the SSA, and $6,997 in restitution to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration.

This case was investigated by the Social Security Administration - Office of Inspector General, and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.  It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael J. Harwin.

The United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General.  The office strives to protect and serve the citizens of the Northern District of Florida through the ethical, vigorous, and impartial enforcement of the laws of the United States, to defend the national security, to improve the safety and quality of life in our communities through the protection of civil rights, and to protect the public funds and financial assets of the United States.  To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website.  For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.

For more information, contact:
Amy Alexander, Public Information Officer
(850) 216-3854, amy.alexander@usdoj.gov

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Updated December 10, 2015