Woman pleads to stealing social security benefits from grandchildren

A College Park woman pleaded guilty in federal court this week to stealing more than $53,000 in social security benefits designated for her grandchildren.

Carolyn Davis, 43, of College Park, pleaded guilty to a single count of wire fraud. She is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Orinda D. Evans on April 28 and faces up to 20 years in prison and a potential $250,000 fine.

Authorities say Davis in 2002 applied to be the “representative payee” for her grandchildren, and she began receiving payments in 2003. However, after a Clayton County Juvenile Court Judge on Aug. 5, 2003, granted temporary custody of the children to a maternal aunt, Davis continued receiving social security benefits until May 2007, according to federal authorities.

Investigators say Davis did not tell the custodial family that the children received social security benefits and also told Social Security Administration officials that she was using the money for the care and support of her grandchildren.

“The Social Security Administration relies on the honesty and good faith of Social Security recipients to report information that impacts continuing entitlement,” Acting United States 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 was 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.

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