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Former Mayor Of Martin And Her Daughter Convicted In Fraud Case

(WTVQ-TV, LLC)
(WTVQ-TV, LLC)
Reported by: Tom Kenny
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Updated: 2/26 7:49 pm
A former mayor of Martin and her daughter, were convicted by a federal jury of charges related to a scheme to defraud the Social Security Administration (SSA) and to misapply federal funds.

On Tuesday night, the jury convicted former Martin Mayor Ruth Thomasine Robinson, 69, and her daughter, Rita Christine Whicker, 42, former director of the Martin Community Center, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors said evidence at trial established that, from 2006 until January 2013, Ginger Michelle Halbert, 42, a volunteer city employee who worked closely with Robinson, was secretly paid with federal money.

The money was intended for the Martin Community Center and the Martin Housing Authority.

Some of the money was supposed to fund an after school program for city children.

To conceal the scheme, the defendants reportedly arranged for the checks to be made payable to Halbert's son.

Prosecutors said evidence further established that Halbert, who was receiving social security disability benefits, intentionally failed to notify SSA of her earned income from the city of Martin.

Under federal law, anyone who receives disability benefits is limited in the amount of money they can receive from another source and all income must be reported to the SSA, so it can properly determine eligibility for benefits.

Halbert pleaded guilty last week to a charge of theft of government money.  She is scheduled to be sentenced June 6, 2014.

Robinson and Whicker are scheduled to be sentenced July 9, 2014.
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