COVINGTON, KY. — The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Social Security Administration (SSA) jointly announced today that over the past two months eight people living in Northeast Kentucky have admitted to defrauding the Social Security Administration (SSA). The eight individuals defrauded the SSA out of combined $517,647.16.
Three of the eight individuals who pleaded guilty to Supplemental Security Income fraud include Nancy F. Osborne, 59, Carmel Mae Bond, 69, and Terri Lee Lewis, 70, all from Vanceburg, Ky. They admitted to making false statements on SSI eligibility applications and other documents to obtain more money from SSI than they were entitled to.
For many years, the women falsely reported they had separated from their husbands so it would appear as if they had a limited income and needed greater financial assistance from SSI. As a result of their false statements, the women defrauded the SSA out of a combined $224,559.75.
From December of 1997 through March of 2011, Bond fraudulently obtained $92, 585.00; Lewis fraudulently obtained $63,042.25 from November 2001 through September 2011 and Osborne fraudulently obtained $68,932.50 from March 2002 through July of 2011. All three defendants pleaded guilty on December 9.
“We want to serve notice on those who would steal from the people of the United States by committing SSI fraud that this conduct will not be tolerated,” said United States Attorney Kerry B. Harvey. “We intend to protect these resources for those who are truly in need. Our prosecutors will continue to work closely with the Social Security Administration to protect this important program from this sort of criminal conduct.”
Five other people have also pleaded guilty to SSI fraud. Each defendant agreed to pay full restitution for the amount of money they fraudulently received. The other defendants are from Grayson, Ky., Louisa, Ky., Hillsboro, Ky., and Mt. Olivet, Ky. The eight defendants were indicted in separate cases in October of 2011.
SSI is a program designed to help aged, blind and disabled people who have little or no income. It provides money to meet basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter.
Special Agent in Charge Guy P. Fallen, Office of the Inspector General, Social Security Administration stated, “SSA Supplemental Security Income Benefits are a lifeline for many Americans who are unable to work due to a temporary or permanent disability. Our office is gratified by the U.S. Attorney’s shared commitment to preserving Social Security funds for deserving beneficiaries. We have no higher priority than ensuring that those who obtain benefits fraudulently are swiftly detected and prosecuted. Social Security fraud affects all Americans and these indictments and guilty pleas are testament to our serious commitment to pursuing those who victimize Social Security Programs."
The investigation was conducted by the SSA Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher L. Nasson represented the U.S. Attorney’s Office in these cases.
Bond and Osborne will appear in court for sentencing on March 23 while Lewis will be sentenced on February 28. They all face a maximum prison sentence of five years. However, any sentence would be imposed by the court after consideration of the United States Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of sentences.