New Hampshire Woman Pleads Guilty To Social Security, Food Stamp, And Medicare Fraud
CONCORD, N.H. – Kim Wheeler, 46, of Allenstown, pleaded guilty in United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire to two counts of Social Security Fraud and two counts of Theft of Public Money, announced United States Attorney Emily Gray Rice.
In February 2005, Wheeler began receiving Social Security disability benefits as the representative payee for her minor child. She also received Food Stamps and Qualified Medicare Beneficiary benefits beginning in May 2010. In assessing a minor child’s eligibility for Social Security disability benefits, the income of the natural or adoptive parent with whom the child lives is considered. Similarly, the income of all members of a household is considered when determining eligibility for Food Stamps and Qualified Medicare Beneficiary benefits.
Wheeler failed to disclose that her husband and children’s father, who was employed full-time, lived with her and their children. His income would have rendered their minor child ineligible to receive any Supplemental Security Income benefits, and it would have rendered Wheeler ineligible for Food Stamps and Qualified Medicare Beneficiary benefits. Wheeler concealed her husband’s true residence from the Social Security Administration and from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, but rather, falsely reported that he did not live with her and their children. When her husband later moved out of the home and began paying child support and alimony to Wheeler, Wheeler failed to disclose this income to Social Security and to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. As a result of her concealment, Wheeler received $49,636.44 in disability benefits as her child’s representative payee, $12,372 in Food Stamps, and $5,041 in Qualified Medicare Beneficiary benefits that she would not have received if her husband’s residence and her subsequent receipt of support payments had been properly disclosed.
Wheeler is scheduled to be sentenced on August 1, 2016. The statutory maximum sentence for the charges is 10 years’ imprisonment. The court will sentence Wheeler after it has had an opportunity to review a presentence report prepared by the United States Probation and Pretrial Services Office and considers the advisory sentencing guidelines. She was released on conditions pending sentencing.
The case was investigated by the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General in conjunction with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services’ Special Investigations Unit, and prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Karen Burzycki.