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Ikie Ealy Concealed His Wife’s Income to Continue Qualifying for Benefits
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced that Ikie G. Ealy, 54, of Baldwin, Michigan, was sentenced to two years’ probation yesterday by U.S. District Judge Paul L Maloney for concealing material facts regarding his eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. The Court additionally ordered Ealy to pay restitution of $77,026.05 to the Social Security Administration and the Michigan Medicaid Program.
Between November 2009 and October 2016, Ealy, who was aware that his wife’s earnings counted towards the calculation of household income for determining his eligibility for SSI benefits, intentionally failed to disclose on several occasions that he and his wife were living together and that she was earning an income. Ealy’s concealment included providing false answers on Social Security forms and providing a false letter indicating that he and his wife were divorcing. As a result, Ealy received SSI benefits in higher amounts than he otherwise should have received, or when he should have received no benefits at all. In total, Ealy received more than $70,000.00 in benefits to which he was not entitled.
“The integrity of the SSI program, and all programs providing federal entitlements, remains a priority of this office,” said Birge. “If you cheat the system, you will be prosecuted and ordered to pay back the benefits that you fraudulently obtained.”
The Grand Rapids office of the Social Security Administration--Office of Inspector General investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald M. Stella handled the prosecution.