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Press Release

Essex County Man Admits Stealing Federal Benefits Meant for Missing Girlfriend’s Disabled Son

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey, man admitted his role in embezzling federal benefits meant for the disabled child of his former girlfriend shortly after she went missing, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Asmar Earp, 37, of Newark, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Evelyn Padin in Newark federal court on June 26, 2024, to three counts of an indictment charging him with two counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. 

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Earp was in a romantic relationship and shared a house in Newark with V.W. Through a program administered by Social Security Administration, V.W. received monthly payments on behalf of her disabled minor son, who was not capable of managing these benefits on his own.  On Dec. 24, 2017, V.W. went missing and her whereabouts remain unknown. Six days after V.W.’s disappearance, Earp fraudulently gained control of V.W.’s son’s benefits by changing the PIN code on the debit card used to access those funds. In March and April 2018, Earp also fraudulently used V.W.’s name, date of birth, and Social Security number to receive a replacement debit card to continue accessing and using V.W.’s son’s benefits. From December 2017 through February 2020, Earp and others acting at his direction repeatedly and fraudulently took the money intended to help V.W.’s son and used it on themselves.

Each count of wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross loss to the victim or gain of the defendant, whichever is greatest.  The count of aggravated identity theft carries a statutory mandatory penalty of two years in prison, which run consecutively to any other term of imprisonment, and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross loss to the victim or gain of the defendant, whichever is greatest.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Bradley Parker of the New York Boston Field Division, and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the leadership of Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II, with the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel H. Rosenblum of the General Crimes Unit in Newark.

Updated July 1, 2024

Financial Fraud
Identity Theft
Press Release Number: 24-253