Aug 24, 2012 1:53 PM
Federal indictments accuse fourteen people across areas of eastern Kentucky of defrauding health care and social security benefit programs.
The defendants were charged in 11 indictments that were returned Thursday by a London grand jury. The indictments allege the defendants defrauded one or more of the assistance programs out of more than a million dollars combined. According to the indictments, the defendants stole from the Social Security Administration (SSA), Kentucky Department of Medicaid Services (DMS) and Health and Human Services (HHS) for periods of a few years to as long as approximately two decades in one instance.
The indictments charge the defendants, ranging from 25 to 70 years-old, with social security benefit fraud, supplemental security benefit fraud, theft of government property, health care fraud, and making false statements.
Most of the indictments allege the defendants intentionally concealed their true living arrangements from social security agents for years. Many falsely reported they were separated from their spouse when in reality they were living with their spouse and receiving financial support from them. Hiding these facts allowed the defendants to continue receiving financial assistance from DMS and SSA when they were not eligible for the programs.
The Social Security Administration offers a benefit program known as Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI provides financial support to disabled people with limited or no income or resources. Based on an agreement between Kentucky and the SSA, Kentuckians who are eligible for SSI also qualify for Medicaid coverage.
The health care fraud and theft of government property charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. The charges of social security fraud and making false statements carry a maximum of 5 years in prison.