Pompano Beach woman stole dead grandparents' Social Security benefits

Myriam Etienne, 49, found guilty of stealing government funds

Myriam Etienne was found guilty in federal court of stealing her grandparents' Social Security benefits for years after their deaths.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A Pompano Beach woman was found guilty Wednesday of stealing her dead grandparents' Social Security benefits for years after their deaths.

Myriam Etienne, 49, was convicted on 90 counts of theft of government funds after a three-day trial.

Federal prosecutors said Etienne had been receiving Social Security supplemental security income for her grandparents since 2004. The federal program provides assistance to eligible lower-income individuals and their families to pay for food, shelter, medical and clothing needs.

Prosecutors presented evidence that showed Etienne's grandfather died in Haiti in 2006 and her grandmother died in Haiti three years later. However, prosecutors said Etienne didn't report their deaths and continued to receive the Social Security benefits.

The Social Security benefits were deposited into a joint bank account that Etienne shared with her grandparents. Prosecutors showed that Etienne signed accounting records verifying that the money was being used for her grandparents' continued food, shelter, clothing and medical treatments, years after their deaths.

Authorities said Etienne received about $130,000 in Social Security benefits.

Prosecutors said Etienne used the money to make several mortgage payments and to pay for her BMW X6.

Etienne faces up to 10 years in federal prison on each count. Her sentencing is scheduled for April.