Pastor pleads guilty to Social Security theft

Published 4:02 pm Thursday, July 26, 2018

U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced Thursday afternoon that Jerry R. Newton, 54, of Slidell, pleaded guilty to a one count Bill of Information charging Theft of Government Funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641.

According to the Bill of Information, Newton applied for Social Security disability benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act. A person receiving disability benefits must truthfully disclose to the Social Security Administration any employment or income while getting the government money.

In forms submitted to the SSA, Newton failed to disclose that he was the paid pastor of Greater Bogalusa Full Gospel Baptist Church since May of 2007 and that he owned two businesses — Still Dreaming Graphics, LLC and Kclean Sweep, a cleaning service. Due to his concealing of his salary and income produced from his businesses, Newton received a total of $95,316 in DIB benefits to which he was not entitled, Evans said.

Newton faces a maximum penalty of 10 years of imprisonment, followed by up to three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000, and a mandatory $100 special assessment, as well as restitution to the Social Security Administration.

A sentencing hearing is set for Oct. 25 before United States District Court Judge Jane Triche Milazzo.

U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Carter K. D. Guice Jr. is in charge of the prosecution.