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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Kentucky

Friday, March 14, 2014

Nicholasville Woman Found Guilty Of Social Security Fraud, Bankruptcy Fraud, And Other Charges

Defendant defrauded federal agency and filed for bankruptcy despite owning millions of dollars in assets

LEXINGTON, KY. - A federal jury has found a Nicholasville woman guilty of defrauding the Social Security Administration (SSA), for approximately a decade, and fraudulently filing for bankruptcy, among other charges.

On Thursday evening, a jury convicted 51-year-old Sheryl Bruner of one count each of theft of government money, failure to disclose assets, and bankruptcy fraud.  She was also convicted of ten counts of money laundering and two counts of making false statements.  The jury returned the verdicts after approximately two and a half hours of deliberation, following four days of trial.

The evidence at trial established that, from 2003 until 2013, Bruner fraudulently claimed that she was disabled and had no funds or source of income, in order to qualify for financial assistance from the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.  SSI is an income assistance program designed to provide financial assistance to elderly and disabled individuals who meet the program’s eligibility requirements.  Bruner failed to disclose, and concealed from the SSA, that she owned multiple companies, which collectively earned millions of dollars during the time she was receiving financial assistance.  Bruner worked primarily as a Medicaid service provider.

The evidence also established that, on May 16, 2013, Bruner filed for bankruptcy, despite the fact that she had more than a million dollars in assets.   Bruner had tried to hide the amount of cash she had on hand, the bank and trust accounts she maintained or controlled, and vehicles and real estate she owned.

Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky andThomas Caul was recently selected as the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations for the Atlanta Field Division.

The investigation was conducted by the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Taylor prosecuted the case on behalf of the federal government.

Bruner is scheduled to appear for sentencing in June 2014.  The money laundering offenses carry a maximum of 20 years in prison, the theft of government property offense carries a maximum of 10 years, and the other offenses each carry a maximum penalty of five years.  However, any sentence would be imposed by the Court, after consideration of the United States Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statutes governing the imposition of sentences.

Updated November 25, 2015