A 57-year-old Veneta woman was sentenced Tuesday to four months of home detention and five years of federal probation for fraudulently obtaining Social Security and food stamp payments.
Marjorie V. Miller admitted this summer to earning wages under one Social Security number while obtaining $4,100 in federal disability benefits and $6,734 in state food stamps under another. U.S. District Senior Judge Michael Hogan also ordered her to repay both agencies.
A separate case of alleged Social Security fraud by her husband, James Leonard Millar, 62, ended his more than 25 years on the lam as a fugitive sex offender. Millar had been wanted in Arizona since 1986, when he fled before his scheduled sentencing for sexually abusing a child younger than 15.
Millar lived and worked in Oregon for years as Michael W. Miller before his indictment last year for unlawful use of a Social Security card and being a fugitive in possession of a firearm. He used someone else’s identity to fraudulently obtain more than $43,500 in unemployment benefits, according to court records.
Millar returned to Arizona after his arrest here, and was sentenced to a year in jail and five years of supervised probation, the sentence he would have received under his 1986 plea deal. He returned to Oregon after completing his Arizona sentence, and faces trial Oct. 30 on the federal charges against him.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Helen Cooper told Hogan that Marjorie Miller’s criminal conduct also began in the 1980s when she “obtained a false Social Security number to flee with her husband,” knowing he had abused a child.
But defense attorney Terri Wood disputed that characterization, saying her client did not break the law to “assist her husband in being a fugitive.”
Marjorie Miller reported earnings under her original Social Security number until 2006, Wood said, and believed Millar’s claim that he was innocent but pleaded guilty to avoid “being railroaded” on more serious charges.
The couple spent years apart after Millar “left the scene” when Marjorie Miller was diagnosed with cancer in 2005, Wood said. She was left alone to deal with her illness and raise four law-abiding children, including one who is studying criminal justice in college and another who served two tours of duty in Iraq, Wood said.
Wood urged Hogan to allow Marjorie Miller to continue participating in Lane Community College’s Women in Transition program and to obtain mental health services to overcome a “horrific childhood.”
Miller told Hogan she is thankful for the support she has received from Wood and her family in becoming more self-confident and independent.
She briefly broke down as she told the judge: “I wish to make my family and children proud of me.”