0

College Park grandmother guilty in fraud case

By Michael Davis

mdavis@news-daily.com

Federal prosecutors say a College Park grandmother continued to collect more than $53,000 in Social Security benefits meant for her grandchildren, even after custody of the children had been transferred to an aunt.

Carolyn Davis, 43, is expected to be sentenced in federal court in Atlanta on April 28, after pleading guilty Thursday to one count of wire fraud.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Atlanta said Davis had been indicted in September on 64 counts of wire fraud, four counts of providing false statements to a federal agency and one count of public health and welfare fraud.

Prosecutors say Davis filed in 2002 to become the representative payee with the Social Security Administration for her grandchildren, and began receiving payments in 2003. On Aug. 5, 2003, a Clayton County Juvenile Court judge granted temporary custody of the children to a maternal aunt, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors alleged that Davis continued collecting payments until May 2007 -- a total of $53,398 -- but never told the aunt the children were receiving benefits.

"The Social Security Administration relies on the honesty and good faith of Social Security recipients to report information that impacts continuing entitlement," Acting U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said in a statement. "Some unscrupulous people, however, view Social Security benefits as money waiting to be taken. Today's guilty plea should assure the public that our office is committed to protecting the integrity of federal entitlement programs."

Davis could receive a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.