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Two women guilty in separate theft cases involving government benefits

EAST ST. LOUIS -Two area women each pleaded guilty Tuesday to theft of government funds for separate cases of claiming benefits to which they were not entitled.

Stephen R, Wigginton, United States attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced the pleas of Tara Star Johndrow, 30, of Belleville, and Amber Dawn Adams, 34, of Fayetteville

Sentencing for Johndrow is scheduled for Oct. 9; sentencing for Adams is scheduled for Oct.  17, both to take place in United States District Court in East St. Louis.

Adams and Johndrow were indicted separately on April 23 on charges that carry potential penalties of up to 10 years in prison, fines of up to $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release to follow any period of incarceration.

The indictment against Adams alleges that between March of 2008 and August of 2012, she falsely claimed and received more than $9,000 in Title II – Survivor Benefits that were intended for the benefit of her child, when the child did not live with her and she did not support the child during the time frame alleged in the indictment.

The indictment against Johndrow alleges that between August of 2010 and August of 2012, she received $14,500 in Supplemental Social Security Payments from the Social Security Administration, when she falsely claimed to the government agency that she did not work during the time frame alleged.

“These cases are yet additional examples of the widespread fraud that plagues both state and federal programs that are in place to help those in our society who need that help the most. My office will continue to stand beside both federal and state agencies and law enforcement in taking every step necessary to find and prosecute those who steal from, and continue to defraud these vital programs,”  Wigginton said.
The investigation was conducted by the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, and the cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ranley R. Killian.

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