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Press Release

Cabell County Woman Pleads Guilty to Theft of Social Security Income Benefits

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of West Virginia

Defendant fraudulently obtained over $44,000

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. –  A Huntington woman entered a guilty plea to the felony offense of fraudulently obtaining Social Security Income benefits, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  Linda Crabtree, 54, faces up to 5 years of incarceration when she is scheduled to be sentenced on August 12, 2019.  She will also be required to pay restitution back to the United States Treasury.  United States Attorney Mike Stuart praised the work of the United States Social Security Administration-Office of Inspector General. 

“Theft of government program dollars will not be tolerated,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart.  “Many West Virginians depend on these critical benefits.  We all suffer when fraudsters like Crabtree take money to which they aren’t entitled.”

Crabtree applied for Title XVI Social Security benefits in 2004.  These Social Security benefits are based on income and living arrangements, and create a duty on the recipient to report a change in income or living arrangements.  In 2004, Crabtree indicated that she was married, but claimed she was not residing with her spouse.  In fact, Crabtree was residing with her spouse and they had been married and living together since 2004. Their combined income would have lowered the amount of money she was receiving every month from the Social Security Administration.  From December 2004 through December 2017, Crabtree received $24,735 in Social Security benefits in excess of the amount she was due. 

Crabtree also received additional money she was not entitled to receive as the representative payee on behalf of her daughter.  This resulted in overpayments to Crabtree as a representative payee in the amount of $19,502.  In total, Crabtree obtained $44,237 in benefits she was not entitled to receive.  On November 6, 2017, Crabtree gave a detailed statement to federal investigators with the Office of Inspector General admitting that she was living with her spouse the entire time and knew that she was receiving money that she was not entitled to receive.

Assistant United States Attorney Erik S. Goes handled the prosecution.  United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers presided over the hearing.


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Updated May 6, 2019