You’ve probably heard the expression: “it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind.” In today’s Fraud of the Day from WTVA.com, a Mississippi woman changed her mind and made a decision to reverse her “not guilty” plea regarding her involvement in a disability fraud scheme.
According to the article, the woman wrongfully accepted Social Security disability payments for more than $10,000, even though she was a full-time employee of a medical office. Further research revealed that the 49-year-old began collecting disability benefits in 2006, after claiming she was disabled and could not work. It turns out that she was employed by a cardiology office from 2007 until 2011. Apparently, the Social Security Administration (SSA) became suspicious and inquired about the woman’s job in 2010, after she claimed she had not worked at the cardiologist’s office since 2008. (Never lie on a benefits application. Your indiscretion will eventually be discovered.)
The defendant originally entered a plea of “not guilty.” But, the article reports that she changed her mind and pleaded guilty to two of 14 counts. She awaits sentencing and faces up to 10 years in prison per count. (We don’t know what made her change her mind, but perhaps her prison sentence will help her to have a change of heart, as well.)
To be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, an applicant must have a qualifying medical condition that prevents him or her from working for a year or more because of that disability. Obviously, this woman didn’t qualify, and she did not deserve the funds that should have been allocated to someone who did. Unfortunately, the article doesn’t indicate why the SSA became suspicious of her case. We can only hope that whatever controls were used to identify this defendant’s fraudulent activities continue to be used – and used aggressively – to root out fraud.