Saudia Schuler, a North Philadelphia mother who went viral last year for throwing a lavish $25,000 ‘Black Panther’-themed prom party for her son — was indicted on Tuesday for social security fraud.
Prosecutors with the US Attorney’s Office on Chestnut Street say, over the last four years, Shuler has been involved in social security fraud.
Deputy Chief of Health Care Fraud Beth Leahy said, “There’s evidence she defrauded the government and no matter who you are the government brings charges.”
Leahy says, back in 2014, Shuler claimed she was disabled and unable to work, but after Social Security approved the benefits, she continued to operate her restaurant.
“When asked about the quality of life, she said that she couldn’t, rarely cook any meals and that her cousin cooked for her. In reality, Ms. Shuler was running a food take-out business for Country Cookin’,” Leahy said.
Shuler’s attorney Tariq El-Shabazz says there’s no way the charges are true; he says Shuler was sick.
“Ms. Shuler suffered from a stroke and a result of that she was in rehab she was unable to do anything for two-plus years around the same time she was allegedly perpetrating this particular fraud,” said El-Shabazz.
El-Shabazz said his client is a woman who has done nothing but serve her community, and she has no reason to lie to Social Security nor hide anything.
El Shabazz added, “If someone is allegedly participating in and receiving social security benefits, disability benefits indicating they can’t work, I don’t know if they would have a store in their name.”
In total, prosecutors say Shuler owes the government more than $36,000. She faces nine charges, including two counts of social security fraud.
This is what happens when you let internet fame get in the way of your scam — you get caught.