Austin police officer and wife arrested in alleged social security fraud scheme

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FILE - Austin police cruiser (KXAN FIle Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Roosevelt Granderson II, an Austin police officer, was arrested early Wednesday morning at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport on charges connected to a scheme to collect more than $258,000 in benefits that he, his wife and mother-in-law were not entitled to, a grand jury indictment alleges.

In a statement, the Austin Police Department says they were aware of the investigation and helped when requested, including the arrest of the officer.

Officer Granderson was placed on restricted duty by the department when they became aware of the allegations. With Wednesday’s arrest, Granderson was suspended without pay effective immediately.

The 44-year-old officer is charged with one count of making a false statement to federal investigators and one count of misprision (deliberate concealment) of a felony.

Granderson’s wife, Selica Lacole Dawson, 37, faces three counts of theft of government funds, two counts of supplemental security income benefits fraud and one count of bankruptcy fraud. Her 52-year-old mother, Brenda Dawson, faces one count of supplemental security income benefits fraud.

The indictment alleges that the officer’s wife defrauded the Social Security Administration’s Supplemental Security Income (SSA-SSI) program of more than $183,000 from 2005 to May 2017, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) of more than $26,000 from 2010 to October 2016 and the Medicaid Insurance Program of an estimated $49,000 from 2010 to 2016.

Officials say the fraud can be traced back to 2008, when Granderson and Dawson decided to marry and failed to report their marriage, living arrangements and income/resources. If they had reported it, the Department of Justice says the wife would have been disqualified from getting benefits as a representative payee for their two children.

She is accused of perpetuating the fraud through the years by failing to report the disqualifications to Social Security. In 2015, the officer’s wife allegedly filed a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy petition, but failed to disclose the true nature of their assets.

The officer, when interviewed by SSA’s Office of the Inspector General, denied living with his wife and children, which investigators determined were false statements.

The charge of misprision of a felony could lead to three years in federal prison upon conviction. For the charge of theft of government funds, up to 10 years in federal prison is possible, as well as up to five years for supplemental security income benefits fraud.

The officer and his wife were released on a $10,000 unsecured bond Wednesday afternoon.

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