Erica Parsons’s Parents Face Federal Charges for Defrauding Government

Adoptive Parents of Missing Erica Parsons Face Federal Charges for Defrauding Government

defrauding governmentExactly one year after Erica Parsons was reported missing by her adoptive brother, James Parsons, her adoptive parents have been arrested. However, her adoptive parents – Casey and Sandy – were not arrested on criminal charges related to her disappearance, but instead were arrested on federal charges for using Erica’s adoption for defrauding government.

When Erica Parsons disappeared, she was 13 years old. However, according to her brother, she had not been seen since 2011 – although he reported her disappearance on July 30th, 2013. Her adoptive parents had, for those two years, allegedly continued to collect Erica Parsons’s federal benefits.

On Wednesday morning, July 30th, 2014, Casey and Sandy Parsons were arrested at their home in Fayetteville. After Erica’s disappearance began making national headlines, the Parsons moved to the town in August 2013.

The indictment charges the Parsons with 76 federal charges, including one count of conspiracy to defraud the government; 20 counts of theft of government funds; and 20 counts of mail fraud. Sandy Parsons is individually charged with one count of aggravated identity theft, and one count of false statement to a government agency. Casey Parsons faces more federal charges, including one count of false pretense in a health care matter; two counts of Social Security fraud; 15 counts of aggravated identity theft; two counts of false statement to a government agency; 6 counts of aiding in the preparation of a false tax return; 6 counts of wire fraud; and one count of making a false claim against the government. The tax fraud and identity theft charges are related to using other names and identities as dependents on his tax returns.

They allegedly collected benefits for Erica between February 2010 and August 2013, despite Erica Parson’s disappearance. The federal government offers assistance to families who adopt children, including adoption assistance, Medicaid, Social Security, and Food and Nutrition benefits. Misuse or redirection of those funds constitutes a federal crime.

The Parsons’ attorney argued that the couple could still legally accept federal funds and benefits on Erica’s behalf, as they were still her legal guardians. However, when police began investigating Erica’s disappearance, they “failed to locate any evidence of Erica Parsons still living here or any evidence that her room or personal living area still remained in the home.” Investigators concluded that “Sandy and Casey Parsons knew Erica would not be returning.”

The Parsons reportedly have a history of problems with custody of Erica. When Erica was 6 years old, Casey Parsons took her to live with another family member. The family member told investigators that “they took custody of Erica for about 8 months after Casey Parsons called them and said she could not stand to look at Erica.” However, “after about 8 months Casey Stone Parsons resumed custody of Erica and said that she was afraid that the Department of Social Services would find out that she did not have her and she was still getting money for her.”

Investigators stated in the indictment that the Parsons “continued desire to utilize the funds, proceeds, or financial assistance intended for the care and benefit of Erica Lynn Parsons resulted in the delay or outright denial to report Erica Lynn Parsons missing in a timely or reasonable time frame.”

Prosecuting Federal Charges in South Carolina

If you or a loved one are the victims of a serious crime, including identity theft, kidnapping, or fraud, it is important that you take the person who hurt you to court – whether it is a federal criminal trial, or personal injury lawsuit. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm have been based in Columbia, SC for 16 years, and are also licensed to practice in Georgia and New York. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so do not hesitate to contact us for help. 803.252.4800.

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