New Orleans Woman Sentenced for Theft of Government Funds

Jul 11, 2023

From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Louisiana:

NEW ORLEANS – DEDRA BRIGHT (“BRIGHT”), age 64, of New Orleans, Louisiana, was sentenced on July 5, 2023 to payment of restitution and probation for theft of government funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641, announced United States Attorney Duane A. Evans.

According to court documents, from November 2008 to November 2020, BRIGHT knowingly accessed and converted approximately $194,127.80 in Social Security Administration (“SSA”) and $1,200 in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) funds. The funds were intended for BRIGHT’s mother, who was a recipient of social security funds before she passed away in 2008. BRIGHT continued withdrawing and spending SSA and CARES Act funds from her mother’s account after her 2008 death, until the SSA learned of the mother’s death and ceased the payments.

At sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle sentenced BRIGHT to 5 years of probation, restitution in the amount of $194,327.80 to the SSA and $1,200 to the IRS, no fine, and a mandatory special assessment fee of $100.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office would also like to acknowledge the assistance of the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, with this matter. The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Moses, Health Care Fraud Coordinator, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian M. Klebba, Chief of the Financial Crimes Unit.

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