Fort Smith couple sentenced in scam against Social Security




  • In US
  • 2022-06-28 19:24:47Z
  • By Ft. Smith Southwest Times Record
 

A Fort Smith husband and his wife have been sentenced to six months in prison after their guilty pleas on charges alleging a scheme to collect money fraudulently from the Social Security Administration.

Stephen Wayne Schwartz, age 55, was sentenced to 6 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release and Rebekah Jolea Schwartz, age 44, was sentenced to 6 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. They were ordered to pay restitution, jointly and severally, to the Social Security Administration, according to the U.S. Attorney's office for the Western District of Arkansas.

The convictions were on charges of theft of government funds and aiding and abetting. The Honorable Judge P.K. Holmes, III, presided over the sentencing hearings in the United States District Court in Fort Smith Tuesday.

They were ordered to make restitution in the amount of $167,756.60.

"The Social Security Administration is set up to make funds available to those who are truly in need because of a disability. However, through their criminal conduct, Mr. and Mrs. Schwartz lined their own pockets with this money that was intended to help those with legitimate disabilities," stated United States Attorney David Clay Fowlkes. "Our office will continue to pursue fraud cases such as this one and will continue to seek to protect programs like this, which are designed to help some of the most vulnerable members of our society." "Stephen and Rebekah Schwartz conspired to defraud the Social Security Administration."

Schwartz claimed to have a disabling condition that prevented him from working -- although he had steady employment, prosecutors alleged.

The scheme caused Social Security to pay Schwartz more than $167,000 that he was not entitled to receive, reported Gail S. Ennis, Inspector General for the Social Security Administration.

"Today's sentence demonstrates that my office will continue to hold people accountable when they defraud SSA's programs for personal gain," Ennis stated.

This article originally appeared on Fort Smith Times Record: Fort Smith couple sentenced in Social Security scheme

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