PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A North Philadelphia woman known for her lavish parties, which included her son’s $25,000 “Black Panther”-themed prom party, could have been sentenced to 140 years in prison for social security fraud Wednesday. Instead, 45-year-old Saudia Shuler will not spend even a second behind bars.
Shuler was sentenced to six months of house arrest, three years’ probation, 100 hours of community service, a $300 special assessment and $36,785.67 restitution.
“Saudia Shuler is not a folk hero or neighborhood champion, she is an admitted thief who stole money from taxpayers in order to fund elaborate parties and enhance her own reputation,” U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain said. “Social security funds are meant to help people survive through challenging times, now to finance extravagancies like helicopter rides, exotic animal rentals or casino gambling binges.”
Prosecutors say Shuler applied for benefits from the Social Security Administration, claiming she was disabled and unable to work. After the benefits were approved, she continued to run her takeout restaurant Country Cookin’, held televised fundraisers and threw her son a prom party that featured camels.
Shuler previously pleaded guilty after being charged with six counts of wire fraud, one count of theft of government funds, and two counts of social security fraud in August 2018.