Montgomery couple sentenced after lying to get Social Security benefits

Montgomery couple sentenced after lying to get Social Security benefits
An Alabama farmer has been charged with stealing crop insurance money and federal prosecutors want him to repay more than $919,000. (Source: Associated Press)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A former employee of the Social Security Administration and her husband were sentenced to prison Friday for defrauding the federal government.

According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Nakia Palmer, 35, and her husband, 30-year-old Nathaniel Palmer, lied about their incomes and living arrangements in order to get Social Security benefits for Nakia's son. Nakia Palmer told Social Security employees in Dothan that she was an actress living in California and had left her son in her husband's exclusive custody. She did this so Social Security would not consider her income when determining whether her son was eligible for benefits.

However, Nakia Palmer was not an actress in California; she was working for the Montgomery Social Security office, and evidence shows the Palmers did not use the benefits they obtained to support her child. Instead, they spent the money on a new car.

Nakia Palmer also made false claims to get food stamps. In total, the Palmers received about $25,000 in benefits.

After becoming aware of the investigation, Nathaniel Palmer asked his neighbor to lie to investigators about the family's living arrangement.

After a four-day trial in February, Nakia Palmer was found guilty of mail fraud, theft of government property, Social Security benefit fraud, and food stamp fraud. Nathaniel Palmer was convicted of mail fraud, theft of government property, and witness tampering.

Nakia Palmer was sentenced to 24 months in prison and Nathaniel Palmer was sentenced to six months.

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