A federal judge has ordered a Billings woman to prison for spending about $80,000 in Social Security benefits to support her drug habit instead of her son.
Senior U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon sentenced Renee Rachelle Voorhis, 28, on Monday in Helena to 18 months in prison and ordered her to pay $80,185 restitution.
Voorhis, also known as Renee Voorhis Edgerley, pleaded guilty in May to Social Security fraud for illegally receiving $82,730 from November 2005 until January 2012.
The Social Security Administration had awarded Voorhis disability insurance benefits on behalf of a son she and her husband, Nicholas Edgerley, had in 2004. Edgerley died in 2005.
In 2012, Voorhis’ father told the agency he and his wife had been raising their daughter’s son since October 2005 and were getting no financial help from Voorhis, even though she was getting federal benefits, the prosecutor said.
Voorhis had helped for four months, then stopped. When Voorhis’ parents asked their daughter about receiving the benefits, Voorhis threatened to take the child from their custody, the prosecutor said.
Voorhis' parents told officials their daughter was a drug addict and had been in and out of jail since the child began living with them. Voorhis admitted to using the money for her own living expenses and to support her drug habit.