Federal prosecutors said nine people were charged with fraudulently collecting money and benefits from federal and state assistance programs, for more than a decade in some cases.
A federal grand jury in Covington returned seven indictments Thursday evening charging a man and seven women from Carter, Boyd, Lawrence, Morgan and Bracken Counties.
An additional man was charged only with making false statements related to alleged fraud and one of the women was also charged with aggravated identity theft.
According to the indictments, the defendants fraudulently obtained benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Medicaid by concealing and intentionally failing to disclose their true living arrangements and financial resources.
The indictments allege that over the course of years, many of the defendants told SSA agents that they had divorced or separated from their spouses, when in fact they were living together and sharing living expenses.
Had SSA known the defendants’ true living arrangements and financial resources, the defendants would have been ineligible for SSI and Medicaid benefits, or their eligibility would have been reduced greatly.
SSI is a cash assistance program designed to provide financial assistance to disabled and elderly people who have little or no income or resources.
Based on an agreement between Kentucky and the SSA, Kentuckians who are eligible for SSI also qualify for Medicaid coverage.
Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky and Guy P. Fallen, Special Agent in Charge, Social Security Administration jointly announced the indictments.
The investigation was conducted by the SSA. Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Nasson represents the U.S. Attorney’s Office in this case.
A date for the defendants to appear in court has not yet been set.
If convicted, the defendants face up to five years in prison for the SSI charge and 10 years on the health care fraud charge.
However, any sentence following a conviction would be imposed after the Court reviews the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statutes.