Operation Dead Ringer targets individuals who steal Social Security benefits inadvertently paid to deceased beneficiaries.

TAMPA, Fla. (CW69 News at 10) – A federal grand jury indicted 13 people of defrauding the Social Security Administration by stealing benefits of deceased individuals.

The individuals are charged in 12 separate cases, with allegedly stealing benefits paid by the Social Security Administration on behalf of beneficiaries who were deceased.

If convicted, each faces a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment on each count.

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Operation Dead Ringer targets individuals who steal Social Security benefits inadvertently paid to deceased beneficiaries.

According to the respective indictments:

  • Lauren McKay, 28, of Jacksonville, and Leah McKay, 31, of Jacksonville, are charged with theft of government funds. From July 2011 to June 2017, the McKays allegedly collected approximately $96,055 of their mother’s Social Security benefits following her death on July 12, 2011.
  • Donna Sharpe Crowther, 63, of Jacksonville, is charged with theft of government funds. From January 2009 to May 2019, Crowther allegedly collected approximately $223,869 of her husband’s Social Security benefits following his death on December 15, 2008.
  • Robin Elmore, 44, of St. Augustine, is charged with theft of government funds. From April 2012 to June 2019, Elmore allegedly collected approximately $63,492 of her sister’s Social Security benefits following her sister’s death on March 20, 2012.
  • Pamela LaTrail Toliver, 62, of Jacksonville, is charged with theft of government funds. From July 2016 to June 2020, Toliver allegedly collected approximately $52,224 of her mother’s Social Security benefits following the mother’s death on July 27, 2016.
  • Virginia Gay, 48, of Jacksonville, is charged with theft of government funds. From February 2015 to September 2019, Gay allegedly collected approximately $99,840 of her mother’s Social Security benefits following the mother’s death on May 29, 2013.
  • Margie Ann Norris-Bell, 62, of Jacksonville, is charged with theft of government funds. From June 2015 to July 2019, Norris-Bell allegedly collected approximately $66,185 of her sister’s Social Security benefits following the sister’s death on July 26, 2011.
  • Humeshia Latasha Butler, 42, of Jacksonville, is charged with theft of government funds. From February 2015 to December 2017, Butler allegedly collected approximately $35,774 of a close friend’s Social Security benefits following his death on November 12, 2013.
  • Robert Bruce Barnes, 63, of Jacksonville, is charged with theft of government funds. From June 2015 to April 2019, Barnes allegedly collected approximately $86,581 of his wife’s Social Security benefits following her death on November 7, 2011.
  • Linda Becraft, 65, of Naples, is charged with theft of government funds. From May 2013 to April 2019, Becraft allegedly collected approximately $152,374 in Social Security benefits following the death of a Social Security beneficiary in April 2013.
  • Ciera McClain, 30, of Alabama, is charged with theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft. From October 2015 to January 2019, McClain allegedly collected approximately $30,670 in Social Security benefits following the death of a Social Security beneficiary on August 29, 2015.
  • Jacqueline Eugene, 46, of Orlando, is charged with theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft. From March 2014 to February 2019, Eugene allegedly collected approximately $51,360 of her mother’s Social Security benefits following her mother’s death on February 17, 2014.
  • Keana Everett, 35, of Tampa, is charged with theft of government funds. From April 2012 to March 2019, Everett allegedly collected approximately $63,382 of her mother’s Social Security benefits following her mother’s death on April 10, 2012.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

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