Former Florence Resident Pleads Guilty to Theft of Government Funds and Identity Theft
Contact Person: Bill Day (803) 929-3000
Florence, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Don Carlos Gibson, Jr., age 46, of Church Hill, Tennessee and formally of Florence, South Carolina, has entered a guilty plea in federal court in Florence, to Theft of Government Funds , a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 641. Additionally, Gibson, Jr. entered a guilty plea to Identity Theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C § 1028A(a)(1). United States District Judge R. Bryan Harwell of Florence accepted the guilty plea and will impose sentence after he has reviewed the presentence report which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.
Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that Gibson collected disability payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) from 1997 to 2013 by falsely claiming he was unable to work. During the time Gibson claimed to be disabled, he attended golfing school in Myrtle Beach and was the general manager of a country club in North Carolina; a car salesman in North and South Carolina; and the pastor of a church in Utah. Gibson's fraud caused losses of $365,000 to the VA and of $350,000 to the SSA. Gibson also used another person’s identity to purchase automobiles in South Carolina and Tennessee.
Mr. Nettles stated the maximum penalty for Theft of Government Funds is imprisonment for 10 years and/or a fine of $250,000, and the maximum penalty for Identity Theft is imprisonment for 2 years consecutive and/or a fine of $250,000.
The case was investigated by agents of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) Department of Veterans Affairs and OIG Social Security Administration. Assistant United States Attorney William E. Day, II of the Columbia office is prosecuting the case.