SEBASTIAN COUNTY, Ark. — Update: Rebekah Schwartz has resigned from the Sebastian County Justice of the Peace position following her fraud conviction.
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.
HOW TO ADD THE 5NEWS APP TO YOUR STREAMING DEVICE
ROKU: add the channel from the ROKU store or by searching for KFSM in the Channel Store.
For Fire TV, search for "KFSM" to find the free app to add to your account. Another option for Fire TV is to have the app delivered directly to your Fire TV through Amazon.
To report a typo or grammatical error, please email KFSMDigitalTeam@tegna.com.