Real Disability, Fraudulent Benefits

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The designers of Social Security in the U.S. realized that individuals with disabilities may have a unique set of challenges in order to live independently that requires supplemental financial support. That is why disabled individuals who live alone and collect Social Security for disability receive certain Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. The Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier tells the story of a woman who collected SSI benefits to assist her in her supposed independence, despite the fact that she was living with her husband. (Perhaps within the dynamic of their marriage she considered herself independent, but the SSI application judged her by a different criteria.)

The story states that the Iowan fraudster was sentenced on Monday, October 19, after pleading guilty in July to one count of Social Security Fraud. The story explains that in her plea agreement she admitted to lying in her correspondence with the Social Security Administration (SSA). She neglected to inform them that from 2003 to 2014, she was living with her husband. As a result, she collected more than $68,000 in benefits payments. Additionally, the story states that at her sentencing hearing, this fraudster admitted to receiving nearly $50,000 from the state of Iowa in Medicaid and food stamp benefits. (Because evidently defrauding the federal government was not enough, she felt like stealing directly from Iowa taxpayers, as well.)

For her crimes, this fraudster was sentenced to serve 10 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. She also must repay $117,938,834 in restitution to the federal government and the state of Iowa. (The story notes that there is no parole in the federal system, and thus this fraudster won’t be eligible. Hopefully this sentence convinces her not to conspire for fraud again.)

Sadly, this lie of omission is a common tactic for fraudsters. This defendant now knows that the SSA really means it when it asks its applicants to fill out the form truthfully. It really does matter if you live alone – or not.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Aplington woman sentenced for Social Security fraud,” and published by the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier on October 20, 2015.

CEDAR RAPIDS | A woman who committed Social Security fraud for approximately 11 years was sentenced Monday in federal court in Cedar Rapids.

Angela Carmichael, 49, of Aplington, received the prison term after a July 2 guilty plea to one count of Supplemental Security Income benefits fraud.

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In her plea agreement, Carmichael admitted between June 2003 and June 2014 she hid the fact she was living with her husband from the Social Security Administration in order to continue to receive Supplemental Security Income benefits.

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