Scott Lee Hubeny Arraigned and Pleads Guilty U.S. Federal Court
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Missoula, on January 10, 2013, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah C. Lynch, SCOTT LEE HUBENY, a 48-year-old resident of Missoula, was arraigned and pled guilty to theft of government money. Sentencing has been set for May 2, 2013. He is currently released on special conditions.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Racicot, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
HUBENY filed for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration ("SSA") on June 2, 1999. He was awarded monthly disability benefits beginning on January 20, 2000. As a beneficiary of SSA disability, HUBENY agreed to report employment or income changes that could affect his eligibility to receive SSA disability payments. At the time of the investigation in this case, HUBENY was receiving $1,400 per month in disability payments.
On April 4, 2011, the SSA received confidential information that HUBENY owned and operated a medical marijuana grow in Missoula and was growing marijuana both at his house and a rented warehouse. HUBENY became a medical marijuana provider under Montana law in August 2009.
On June 30, 2011, federal and state law enforcement officers searched HUBENY's house and his warehouse. They seized a total of approximately 243 marijuana plants, four pounds and 12 ounces of bulk marijuana, 5.06 ounces of Hashish, and various items of marijuana processing equipment (grow lights, digital scales, etc.).
HUBENY was interviewed the same day as the searches. HUBENY stated that he understood his SSA disability reporting requirements regarding changes in employment or income but denied earning any income in excess of $500 per year from his medical marijuana business. He said that he knew he was required to report his employment to SSA and provided no explanation for not doing so, saying only that he did not think about it because he was losing money.
HUBENY's bank records were reviewed which revealed that HUBENY deposited approximately $37,890 into his bank accounts from January 2010 through April 2011. That figure does not include HUBENY's monthly disability payments. Approximately $9,130 of that money came from 19 checks from Sharrott Creek Farms to HUBENY from January 14, 2010 through July 13, 2010. Sharrott Creek Farms is a business involved in growing and selling medical marijuana. When asked about Sharrott Creek Farms during his interview on June 30, 2011, HUBENY said he received two or three checks from that business for no more than $700 total.
HUBENY knowingly failed to disclose employment and income information to the SSA and, as a result, fraudulently received $25,200 in disability benefit payments between April 2010 and September 2011.
HUBENY faces possible penalties of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.
The investigation was conducted by the Social Security Administration - Office of Inspector General.