North Philly mom known for lavish parties avoids prison time in fraud case

A North Philadelphia woman who was known for throwing lavish events, including a Black Panther-themed prom, has avoided prison time in her fraud case.

Saudia Shuler,44, was indicted in August for allegedly collecting nearly $37,000 in disability benefits while continuing to work and running her own restaurant, according to the U.S. Attorney for Eastern Pennsylvania. Shuler was charged with six counts of wire fraud, one count of theft of government funds and two counts of social security fraud.

On Wednesday, she was sentenced to three years probation with six months home confinement, 100 hours community service, $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," said U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain. "Social security funds are meant to help people survive through challenging times, not to finance extravagancies like helicopter rides, exotic animal rentals or casino gambling binges. Shame on her for taking money out of the pockets of people who actually depend on social security just to get by: the elderly, disabled and other vulnerable people - some of whom live in Shuler's North Philadelphia neighborhood. She should be ashamed of herself and deserves to be held accountable for her crimes."

Shuler went viral in 2017 after throwing an expensive Dubai-themed prom sendoff for her son that featured live animals, exotic cars and three tons of sand.

Shuler also hosted a holiday-themed block party where hundreds of people showed up to get in the holiday spirit.

In 2018, Shuler threw a Black Panther-themed prom send-off with an actual panther for neighborhood kids. She said the party cost was in the six figures.