Skip to main content
Press Release

Mother-Daughter Fraudsters Sentenced for Social Security and Bankruptcy Scams

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

LYNCHBURG, Va. – A Hurt, Virginia woman, who stole more than $170,000 in Social Security Administration retirement funds to which she was not entitled, was sentenced in federal court just three months after her mother was sentenced on related charges.

In November 2022, Christy Bowling, 38, pled guilty to concealment of bankruptcy assets and theft of government money.  Last week, she was sentenced to two months in federal prison and one year of home detention.

Bowling’s mother, Judith Cash, 58, of Shipman, Virginia, pleaded guilty in May 2022 to one count of theft of public money and was sentenced to one year of home detention.

According to court documents, in August 2020, Betty Gowen, who had been incarcerated since 2011 for the murder of her husband, contacted the Social Security Administration (SSA) to apply for Title II Retirement Insurance Benefits upon her release from prison. 

When SSA officials received Gowen’s application, it was revealed that her daughter, Judith Cash, and granddaughter, Christy Bowling, had already applied for and had been receiving Gowen’s SSA Retirement Benefits since 2010. Cash and Bowling had been using the funds through a shared bankcard.

SSA determined that Cash and Bowling stole $172,952 and the court has ordered them to pay this amount back in restitution.

United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh of the Western District of Virginia and Gail S. Ennis, Inspector General for the Social Security Administration, made the announcement.

The Social Security Administration investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Charlene R. Day prosecuted the case.

Updated February 22, 2023