CINCINNATI – Napoleon Crawford, 52, of Mason, was arrested and appeared in U.S. District Court here on July 30 to face charges in a two-count indictment alleging that Crawford has stolen more than $80,000 in Social Security and Department of Defense benefits earned by his father, a retired Navy officer who died in 2016.
Crawford is the fifteenth person charged this year in the 48-county Southern District of Ohio based on results of a large audit conducted by the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, which found that dozens of Ohioans are illegally collecting a deceased relative’s federal retirement, Social Security or Veterans’ Administration benefits.
Ten of the fifteen people have pleaded guilty to charges of theft of public funds, a felony that is punishable by up to ten years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The fifteen charged allegedly received more than $898,000 in benefits.
One person has been sentenced so far. Debra Edwards, 57, of South Lebanon was sentenced July 28. Edwards was ordered to repay $49,575 in benefits she received illegally and serve three years’ probation with the first 90 days to be served in home detention.
“We will prosecute people who stick their hands in the pockets of taxpayers to steal benefits earned by their relatives,” said David M. DeVillers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio. “The investigation is continuing and others could be charged.”
In addition to Crawford and Edwards, the following individuals have been charged:
Wayne Coulter II
Donald Hawkins Jr.
The cases are part of the national Social Security Administration (SSA) Fraud Prosecution Project, a collaboration with SSA’s Office of the General Counsel, Office of the Inspector General and the Department of Justice.
For more information on SSA’s Fraud Prosecution Project and the agency’s other anti-fraud efforts, please visit https://www.ssa.gov/antifraudfacts/.
David M. DeVillers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, along with the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General, Office of Audit; the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General; The Veterans’ Administration Office of Inspector General; the United States Office of Personnel Management Office of Inspector General and the United States Secret Service announced the results of the ongoing initiative. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Landry is representing the United States in this initiative.
Statements contained in indictments or bills of information are allegations only. Defendants should be presumed innocent unless convicted in a court of law.