Crystal River mail carrier pleads guilty to stealing workers’ comp, underreporting income

A Crystal River woman on Monday admitted to stealing thousands in federal workers’ compensation and improperly reporting her income to get additional disability benefits.

Ruth S. Sprake, 60, pleaded guilty at the U.S. District Courthouse in Ocala to charges of theft of government funds and making false statements to the Social Security Administration (SSA), according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Middle District of Florida.

A judge will sentence Sprake at an undetermined date to up to 15 years in prison.

Sprake, who was a rural mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, received full workers’ compensation disability since September 2002 from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) for a work-related injury, the news release states.

Sprake was required to submit her income sources and employment activities to the DOL, but failed to report income from her dog-breeding business and her clerical work for a real estate business from 2013 to 2018.

Because of this, Sprake received $192,000 in benefit payments she wasn’t entitled to, the release states.

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