Mason man charged in ongoing Social Security fraud investigation

Others charge include 2 from Hamilton, one from Dayton

CINCINNATI ― A Mason man is the 15th person facing federal charges this year in a 48-county region as a result of an audit of Social Security Administration benefits.

Napoleon Crawford, 52, was arrested and appeared in U.S. District Court on July 30 on two counts alleging he stole more than $80,000 in Social Security and Department of Defense benefits earned by his father, a retired Navy officer. His father died in 2016.

Crawford is the latest person charged this year by the federal government in the Southern District of Ohio’s district as the Social Security Administration found that dozens of Ohioans have illegally collected a deceased relative’s federal retirement, Social Security or Veterans’ Administration benefits.

“We will prosecute people who stick their hands in the pockets of taxpayers to steal benefits earned by their relatives,” said David M. DeVillers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio. “The investigation is continuing and others could be charged.”

Ten of the fifteen people have pleaded guilty to charges of theft of public funds and face up to 10 years in prison, three years of probation and a fine of up to $250,000.

The fifteen charged allegedly received more than $898,000 in benefits.

Debra Edwards, 57, of South Lebanon, has been the only one sentenced so far, according to the U.S. Attorneys office. She was sentenced on July 28 to three years probation with the first 90 days to be served in home detention. Also, she was ordered to repay $49,575 in benefits she illegally received.

Others who have been charged include:

  • Lori Barker, 51, of Hamilton
  • Kinnard Asher, 60, of South Lebanon
  • Billy Gray, 44, of Mt. Orab
  • Laverne Harrison, 60, of Cincinnati
  • Linda Daniels, 62, of Mt. Orab
  • Wayne Coulter II, 33, of Cincinnati
  • Ronald Lewis, 43, of Hamilton
  • Douglas Dible, 68, of Richwood
  • Gloria Funk, 65, of New Lexington
  • Victor Warren, 52, of Marietta
  • Donald Hawkins Jr., 47, Columbus
  • Christina Saldana, 41, of West Carrollton
  • Nathaniel Carruth, 64, of Dayton

Nine of the other 13 charged in the fraud investigation are awaiting sentencing, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

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