LEXINGTON, KY - A Nicholasville woman was arraigned in federal court on Monday, for allegations that she defrauded the Social Security Administration (SSA) for approximately a decade.
A federal indictment returned Thursday, January 9, charges Sheryl Bruner, 51, with theft of government money, concealment and failure to disclose assets, bankruptcy fraud, and making false and fictitious statements. Bruner has pleaded not guilty to the charges and a trial date has been scheduled for March 10, 2014.
According to the indictment, from 2003 until 2013, Bruner fraudulently claimed that she was disabled and had no money or source of income in order to receive financial assistance from a program known as Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Bruner allegedly concealed and failed to disclose to the SSA that she worked two jobs during this time period —both as a Medicaid service provider—in which she earned a substantial income.
The indictment further alleges that on May 16, 2013, Bruner filed for bankruptcy, in Lexington, and intentionally omitted the amount of cash she had on hand, all the bank and trust accounts she maintained or controlled, all of the vehicles she owned, and a piece of real estate she owned.
SSI is an income assistance program designed to provide financial assistance to elderly and disabled individuals who meet the program’s eligibility requirements. If the SSA had known Bruner’s true health and financial situation, SSA would have discontinued her eligibility in the program.
Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky and Guy P. Fallen, Special Agent in Charge, Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, jointly announced the indictment.
The investigation was conducted by the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Taylor presented the case to the grand jury.
The theft of government property charge carries a maximum of 10 years in prison upon a conviction. The rest of the charges each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Any indictment is an accusation only. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.