New Iberia Man Sentenced to 24 Months in Prison for Theft of Government Funds
LAFAYETTE, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that a New Iberia man was sentenced to 24 months in prison for lying in order to receive more than $350,0000 in Social Security Administration (SSA) benefits.
Buddy Estelle, 53, of New Iberia, La., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote for one count of making a false statement to the Social Security Administration. He was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $352,937.20 in restitution. According to evidence presented at the September 12, 2013 guilty plea, Estelle started receiving SSA disability payments in 1984. While attending a routine meeting concerning his benefit eligibility on Feb. 8, 2011, he told SSA staff members at the New Iberia office that he had not worked since 2000. During the guilty plea, Estelle admitted that he has been self-employed since 2000. He owns a business that buys and crushes cars for scrap. Estelle admitted to improperly receiving $352,937.20 of benefits to which he was not entitled.
The Social Security Administration and the Louisiana State Police conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly P. Uebinger prosecuted the case.