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Date: 02-14-2024

Case Style:

United States of America v. Gayle Smith Gay

Case Number:

Judge: Cameron McGowan Currie

Court: The United States Court for the District of South Carolina

Plaintiff's Attorney: The United States Court for Columbia

Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Matthews prosecuted the case.

Defendant's Attorney:

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Columbia, South Carolina criminal defense lawyer represented the Defendant charged with Theft of Government Funds and Making a False Statement in a Passport Application.

Gayle Smith Gay, 75, of Huntersville, N.C., was sentenced to five years of probation with 240 days of home confinement after pleading guilty theft of government funds and making a false statement in an application for a passport.

Evidence presented to the court showed that Gayle Smith Gay and her husband, Ivan Buxton Gay, Jr., engaged in a multi-decade scheme where they collected Social Security benefits under fraudulent identities from 2006 to 2023. Ms. Gay adopted the identity of her deceased sister, who died as an infant after living for only a few hours in February 1944. Mr. Gay adopted the identity of Alvin Vincent Lee, who also died as a child in 1941. Using the name Catherine Faye Smith, Ms. Gay changed the birth certificate of her sister in 1977 to read “Catherine Faye Smith” rather than “baby girl Smith” and applied for a Social Security number in that name in 1992. Using the name Catherine Smith Lee, Ms. Gay applied for a U.S. Passport in 2010 and renewed that passport in 2020. Ms. Gay began receiving Title II retirement benefits under the false identity, Catherine Smith Lee, in 2006 and subsequently began receiving supplemental security income benefits in 2009. Mr. and Ms. Gay continued to collect benefits from the Social Security Administration until April 2023 when their scheme was discovered by law enforcement.

United States District Judge Cameron McGowan Currie sentenced Gayle Smith Gay to a five-year term of court-ordered supervision to include 240 days of home detention. As a condition of probation, Ms. Gay must pay $132,962.00 in restitution to the Social Security Administration. Ivan Buxton Gay, Jr. pled guilty to the same charges in the Western District of North Carolina and is awaiting sentencing.

This case was investigated by the Social Security Administration and the Department of State. Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Matthews prosecuted the case.


Defendant was found guilty and sentenced to five years of probation with 240 days of home confinement

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