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Press Release

Georgia woman pleads guilty to stealing over $175,000 in government benefits

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Georgia

ATLANTA - Carmen Pearson has pleaded guilty to stealing over $175,000 from the federal government by concealing her father’s death from the Social Security Administration for nine years so that she could continue to receive his Social Security benefits.

“Stealing money from the federal government is stealing money from tax payers,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.  “Pearson went the extra mile to steal by swearing annually that her father was alive and that she was taking care of him even though he had died.”

“For nearly a decade, Ms. Pearson’s deception caused Social Security to issue payments to her for her deceased father,” said Gail S. Ennis, Inspector General for the Social Security Administration. “This guilty plea should send a warning to those who perpetrate this kind of fraud that we will identify you and bring you to justice on behalf of the American people. I want to thank the United States Attorney’s Office and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane Schulman for prosecuting this case.”  

According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges and other information presented in court: In 2007, Carmen Pearson applied to Social Security to be her father’s representative payee and receive his Social Security benefits on his behalf.  Her father died in 2009.  Instead of notifying Social Security of his death, the defendant submitted at least five annual reporting statements in which she claimed he was still alive and that she used all of the Social Security benefit monies she received for his care and support.  Because Social Security believed that her father was still alive, it continued to pay monthly benefits to her for him until August 2018, for nearly nine years after his death. In total, Pearson stole $176,516 in federal money.

Sentencing for Carmen Pearson, 58, of Fairburn, Georgia, is scheduled for February 20, 2020, at 10:00 a.m., before U.S. District Judge Michael L. Brown.  In determining the actual sentence, the Court will consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.

The Social Security Administration - Office of the Inspector General is investigating this case.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane C. Schulman is prosecuting the case.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is

Updated December 3, 2019

Financial Fraud