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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                          August 12, 2011                   

MOUNT HOPE WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO THEFT OF GOVERNMENT BENEFITS

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Wanda J. Adkins, 67, of Mount Hope, Fayette County, West Virginia, pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court before U.S. District Judge to theft of public money.  On March 14, 1994, Adkins applied for Supplemental Security Income Title XVI Disability Benefits (SSI benefits) with the United States Social Security Administration (SSA). Adkins was awarded and received benefits based on her income and living arrangements in 1998. The defendant had a continuing obligation to report any income or change in living arrangements to the SSA.

Adkins admitted that in November 1999, she reported to the SSA that she had separated from her spouse. Adkins further admitted that while her spouse was occasionally absent from the household, they were not separated and thus, she continued receive periodic financial support from the individual. From November 1999 through November 2010, the defendant fraudulently collected $66,800 in SSI benefits based on her concealment of and her failure to disclose the fact that she resided with her spouse.

Adkins faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  

The investigation was conducted by the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General.  Assistant United States Attorney Erik Goes is handling the prosecution. 

This case was prosecuted as part of the U.S. Attorney's Initiative to Combat Theft of Government Benefits launched in June 2008.  The Initiative is designed to protect public funds and to prosecute those who steal benefits from public programs or agencies such as the Railroad Retirement Board, US Veterans Administration, Social Security Administration, and the Department of Labor.       

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