SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Nevada, Mo., couple was sentenced in federal court today for Social Security fraud.
Reta Jo Carpenter, 53, and her husband, Oren Daniel Carpenter, 52, both of Nevada, were sentenced in separate appearances before U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool. Reta Carpenter was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison and Oren Carpenter was sentenced to five years of probation. The Carpenters were also ordered to pay $96,711 in restitution to the Social Security Administration.
On Oct. 7, 2014, the Carpenters pleaded guilty to making false statements to the Social Security Administration. Reta Carpenter, who was unemployed and disabled, had been receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits since 1990. In 1997, she falsely claimed that Oren Carpenter no longer lived with her. When Oren Carpenter was interviewed by federal agents, he falsely stated that he did not share a residence with his wife and falsely claimed that he had been living with other family members.
As a result, Oren Carpenter’s annual income was no longer considered in determining Reta Carpenter’s eligibility for SSI benefits. This resulted in overpayments to Reta Carpenter totaling $99,411 as of Aug. 23, 2012.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Mohlhenrich. It was investigated by the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General.