St. Louis, MO –Robert Fountaine, 56, of St. Louis City, pled guilty to one count of theft of government funds. Fountaine appeared today before U.S. District Judge Henry E. Autrey who accepted his plea and set sentencing for April 14, 2020.
According to the plea agreement, Fountaine was cashing the Social Security checks of Ethel Barbee, who died in September 1999. Ms. Barbee was reportedly Fountaine’s step-mother, and Fountaine was receiving her benefit checks in the mail as her representative. Following Ms. Barbee’s death, Fountaine reported to the Social Security Administration that the monies received were continuing to go to Ms. Barbee, or to her care. In 2018, Fountaine stopped cooperating with the Social Security Administration reporting requirements, and only then were Ms. Barbee’s benefits were suspended. Due to the concealment of Ms. Barbee’s death and the continued collection of her SSA benefits, Fountaine received $144,465.30 in government benefits to which he was not entitled.
The Social Security Administration is investigating the case. Special Assistant United States Attorney Diane Klocke is handling the case.