Rogers Woman Sentenced For Embezzling SSI Benefits

Shelly Spencer

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) — A federal judge on Friday (Oct. 19) ordered a Rogers woman to repay more than $55,000 in disability benefits that she embezzled over 10 years.

Shelly Spencer, 51, pleaded guilty in July in U.S. District Court to one count of theft of public money.

Judge Tim Brooks also sentenced Spencer to one month in the Benton County Jail followed by two years of supervised release — seven months of which will be served on home confinement.

Spencer owes $55,421 in Title XIV benefits — also known as Supplemental Security Income (SSI)  — which are designed to help disabled people with little to no income.

Spencer married in January 2008, but failed to disclose this information when contacted by social security administrators in July 2008, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

By not divulging her marriage, Spencer continued receiving more benefits than she was entitled, eventually collecting $55,421 between February 2008 and March 2018.

Spencer told investigators she withheld this information because she was afraid of getting in trouble, according to court documents.

As part of her plea deal, prosecutors dismissed a charge of concealing material facts. She faced up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Spencer’s attorney argued for a lighter sentence, citing her client’s traumatic childhood, physical disability and struggle with depression.