Officials with the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Social Security Administration said Monday that eight people have entered guilty pleas to defrauding Social Security of more than a half million dollars.
The eight individuals defrauded the Social Security Administration out of a combined $517,647.16, according to officials.
Teresa Anderson, 49, of Mount Olivet, is one of those who pleaded guilty to Supplemental Security Income fraud. Anderson admitted she made false statements on SSI eligibility forms and other documents to receive an increase in SSI payments, Kerry B. Harvey, US attorney with the Eastern District of Kentucky said.
From August 2004 through April 2011, Anderson falsely represented to the SSA that she and her husband were separated and living apart so she could receive an increase in SSI benefits, Harvey said. In reality, she and her husband were living together, he said.
According to court documents, as a result of her false statements, Anderson defrauded SSA out of $48,967.
Also entering guilty pleas were Nancy F. Osborne, 59, Carmel Mae Bond, 69, and Terri Lee Lewis, 70, all from Vanceburg. They admitted to making false statements on SSI eligibility applications and other documents to obtain more money than they were entitled to.
For many years, the women falsely reported they had separated from their husbands so it would appear as if they needed greater financial assistance from SSI, according to Harvey. As a result, the women defrauded the SSA out of a combined $224,559.75, officials said.
From December 1997 through March 2011, Bond fraudulently obtained $92,585.00; Lewis fraudulently obtained $63,042.25 from November 2001 through September 2011; and Osborne fraudulently obtained $68,932.50 from March 2002 through July 2011.
Donna Kay Lewis, 5,2 and her husband, Glennis Belmount Lewis, 62, both of Hillsboro in Fleming County, were among those pleading guilty to the charges.
Both collected more than $117,000 combined in SSI benefits that they were not entitled to receive. According to court documents, they made false statements on SSI applications and in various statements over the course of 17 years. In order to receive a greater amount of SSI, both stated they had separated from each other, when in fact they lived together, Harvey said.
As a result of the fraud, Donna Lewis illegally obtained $55,267.49 in SSI money from September 1995 through September 2011. Glennis Lewis fraudulently obtained $62,041.92 from January 1994 through September 2011.
The women all pleaded guilty Dec. 9. Glennis Lewis pled guilty on Jan. 6.
Donna and Glennis Lewis, Anderson, Bond and Osborne will be sentenced on March 23 in Federal court in Covington. Terri Lee Lewis will be sentenced on Feb. 28. All face a maximum prison sentence of five years.
"We want to serve notice on those who would steal from the people of the United States by committing SSI fraud that this conduct will not be tolerated," said Harvey. "We intend to protect these resources for those who are truly in need."
All eight defendants were indicted in separate cases in October 2011. SSI is a program designed to help aged, blind and disabled people who have little or no income.
The investigation was conducted by the SSA's Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher L. Nasson represented the U.S. Attorney's Office in these cases.