Phoenix Woman Sentenced for Theft of Social Security Funds

PHOENIX (LAWFUEL) – Laura Calleen Reeves, 48, of Phoenix, was sentenced here today by U.S. District Judge Roslyn O. Silver to six months of home confinement as a condition of four years of probation. She was also ordered to pay $38,722 in restitution and to perform 50 hours of community service. Reeves pleaded guilty to Theft of Government Funds on October 7, 2008.

Reeves previously admitted that she stole money from the Social Security Administration from January 1, 1997 through February 28, 2006 because she received approximately $43,730 in disability benefits for which she was not eligible. Reeves committed the theft by continuing to receive and retain Social Security Administration (SSA) Title XVI Supplemental Security Income Disability Benefits and SSA Title II Disability Benefits for herself for work disabling conditions, even though she was no longer eligible for the benefits.

Reeves was not eligible for the benefits because she owned and operated floral, craft and painting related enterprises full time from her residence. Reeves admitted she performed a number of tasks for her businesses including growing flowers, preserving flowers for display, painting residential murals and other paintings, appearing on television to promote her businesses and employing several people to work for her. Reeves also agreed to repay the remaining balance of the stolen funds at that time which was $38,722.

The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General. The prosecution was handled by Frederick A. Battista, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.


RELEASE NUMBER: 2009-043(Reeves)

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