According to reports, the 82-year-old woman identified as Evelyn Baptiste of Montgomery County was charged for stealing social security benefits.
According to court documents, the amount of disability benefits that Baptiste pocketed amounted to $186,000.00.
Incidentally, during an internal audit done early this year, authorities discovered that Baptiste was receiving two social security checks each month. One was the traditional payout that are being sent to retirees and the other one was the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) that are being given to help unemployed, elderly, and disabled citizens. However, the latter was being sent under another’s name but to the same address where Baptiste live.
Unfortunately, it took decades before officials discovered Baptiste’s fraudulent act. Therefore, the total amount of her disability earnings had climbed up to hundreds of dollars.
Last May, Baptiste was officially charged with two counts of social security fraud by the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General wherein she pleaded guilty to both charges.
Moreover, during the arraignment, U.S. District Judge Petrese B. Tucker agreed to set aside the federal guidelines in ruling over Baptiste’s case considering the latter’s age and since she was a first-time offender as well. However, it does not exclude Baptiste from being sentenced for her misconduct. The said presiding judge sentenced her with six months of home confinement and five years probation.
Subsequently, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda R. Reinitz likewise agreed with Tucker’s resolution and claimed that Baptiste’s age and declining health condition made her an impossible inmate.
Based on data gathered by the Justice Department nationwide over the past couple of years, out of 170 defendants sentenced with federal crimes, only a few dozens were octogenarians. In fact, only three of them were female.
Furthermore, according to Baptiste’s legal representative, the accused can only reciprocate $50 dollars a month due to her medical expenses, car insurance, housing costs, and other household bills.
Apparently, it was a fair decision, commended a Los Angeles SSI lawyer. Although criminal acts usually does not have exemption to the rules, elderly offenders like Baptiste should be at least given with such consideration.