Crystal River woman pleads guilty in Social Security theft case – Ocala

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Ruth S. Sprake, 60, who received disability benefits, failed to report income other income.

At a change of plea hearing in Ocala Monday, a Crystal River woman pleaded guilty to stealing federal funds and making false statements to the Social Security Administration.

Ruth S. Sprake, 60, a former rural route carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, faces a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison for the theft and five years for making false statements, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida. A sentencing date has not been scheduled.

Federal officials said Sprake was indicted on Nov. 7.

Authorities said that, since September 2002, Sprake had been receiving full worker’s compensation disability benefits from the Department of Labor for a work-related injury. From 2013, Sprake was supposed to submit documents detailing her sources of income and any other employment. But over five years — from 2013-2018 — Sprake failed to report income from a dog breeding business and her clerical job in real estate.

Federal officials estimate Sprake received more than $192,000 in benefit payments she should not have received.

Government officials said Sprake gave false written statements to the Social Security Administration in December 2015 and under-reported her personal and household income to receive increased disability benefit payments.

Sprake’s case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of the Inspector General and the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General.

Robert Bodnar, a federal prosecutor, handled the case for the government, while Mary Mills represented Sprake.

Contact Austin L. Miller at 867-4118, austin.miller@starbanner.com or @almillerosb.

 

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