Norcross Woman Stole More Than $398,000 In Federal Retirement Benefits
ATLANTA - Deborah West has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for stealing federal retirement benefits.
“Federal employees work hard to earn retirement benefits to support them during their golden years,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “For fifteen years this defendant shamelessly stole from the federal retirement system, taking what she never worked for and never earned.”
“Fraudulently obtaining annuity payments is a crime of opportunity,” said Office of Personnel Management Inspector General Patrick E. McFarland. “It is all too easy for individuals to take advantage of an aging relative, neighbor, or ward – and even easier to do so once they have passed away. This conviction demonstrates that we are dedicated to holding these individuals accountable for their crimes.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: The defendant’s parents were both federal employees who received federal retirement benefits. The defendant’s father passed away in 1980 and his benefits were legitimately transferred to West’s mother. The defendant’s mother, also a federal employee, collected her benefits and her husband’s benefits until 1993, when she died. At that time, all of the benefits should have ended. However, the federal government never learned of the death and continued to pay the benefits directly to the mother’s bank account. The defendant stole those benefits by writing checks to herself from her deceased mother’s account, forging her mother’s signature and keeping the money for herself. In sum, between 1993 and 2008 the defendant stole more than $398,000 of federal benefits to which she was not entitled.
West, 64, of Norcross, Ga., was sentenced to one year, six months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release by United States District Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr. She was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $398,773.96. West was convicted on these charges on June 10, 2013, after she pleaded guilty.
This case is being investigated by the Office of Personnel Management, Office of Inspector General.
The case was jointly prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Christopher C. Bly in Atlanta and Kristi O’Malley of the District of Maryland.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.