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Sebastian Co. Justice of the Peace and husband convicted of over $160K Social Security fraud

Stephen Schwartz allegedly collected disability benefits while working at several different businesses. His wife Rebekah has resigned.

SEBASTIAN COUNTY, Ark. — Update: Rebekah Schwartz has resigned from the Sebastian County Justice of the Peace position following her fraud conviction.

Original Article:  

The Sebastian County Justice of the Peace and her husband have pleaded guilty to Social Security fraud. 

According to Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, Sebastian County Justice of the Peace Rebekah Schwartz and husband Stephen Schwartz pleaded guilty to theft of government funds and abetting theft of government funds. Rutledge says the pair fraudulently accepted Social Security disability benefits while operating a countertop remodeling business.

"No one is above the law, especially elected officials who are entrusted by their local communities," Rutledge said. "We must aggressively go after those who take government funds out of greed and ensure money is available for Arkansans in need."

According to records, in November 2020, the Little Rock Cooperative Disability Investigations Unit (CDI) received a tip that Stephen Schwartz was working while receiving disability benefits. 

Rutledge says that from June 2016 to September 2016 Stephen began working with Liberty Roofing in Fort Smith, but had his paychecks issued under his wife, Rebekah's name, to continue collecting disability payments. 

Investigators discovered that Stephen worked at a local countertop business in Fort Smith from December 2016 to July 2017 until he and his wife started their own business, Schwartz Quartz and Stone. 

Stephen was sworn in as Sebastian County Justice of the Peace in August of 2019 and remained in that position until December 2020, which includes the time that he was allegedly defrauding the Social Security Administration. 

After Stephen's term ended, his wife Rebekah was elected as Justice of the Peace in Sebastian County, which she still holds.

The couple faces up to 10 years in prison.

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