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The Villages

Summerfield woman charged with stealing dead boyfriend’s Social Security benefits

A 75-year-old Summerfield woman has been charged with fraudulently accepting her dead boyfriend’s Social Security benefits.

United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announced the filing of federal charges in Tampa against Rosemary Freeman and 11 others charged in Operation Dead Ringer. The group of 12 was charged in 11 separate cases with cumulatively stealing more than $700,000 in Social Security benefits paid to beneficiaries who were deceased.

Freeman was charged with fraudulently collecting her dead boyfriend’s Social Security benefits from January 2013 through April 2019 for a total of $83,488. If convicted she could face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

“As these charges demonstrate, stealing from SSA on behalf of a deceased beneficiary is a federal crime. We work closely with SSA and other government agencies to identify Social Security fraud and stop improper payments,” said Gail S. Ennis, Inspector General of Social Security.

Operation Dead Ringer, initiated in the Middle District of Florida, aggressively targets those who steal Social Security benefits inadvertently paid to deceased beneficiaries.

The cases are being investigated by the Social Security Administration – Office of the Inspector General, with assistance from other federal and local law enforcement agencies, including the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation – Office of the Inspector General. Special Assistant United States Attorney Suzanne Huyler is coordinating the operation. She, along with Assistant United States Attorneys Yolande Viacava and Tyrie Boyer, will be prosecuting the cases.

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