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Letcher couple get 30 months in federal fraud case

A Whitesburg couple have been sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for defrauding the Social Security and Medicaid programs.

Last week, Chief U.S. District Judge Caldwell sentenced married couple Harry Taylor, 63, and Betty Taylor, 64, for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, theft of government funds, and falsifying and concealing a material fact in connection with health care benefits.

The Defendants were both found guilty at trial in September of 2018.

The evidence at trial established that, over a period of several years, the Defendants repeatedly misled the Social Security Administration about their financial resources, in order to receive more than $40,000 in direct payments for Supplemental Security Income Disability (“SSI”) benefits, which they were not entitled to receive. Their improper qualification for SSI benefits also led to the unlawful receipt of Medicaid benefits, of more than $150,000, during the same period. The Defendants were also found to have engaged in obstruction of justice, by falsifying documents and evidence introduced at the trial.

“This case represents an example of the consequences of defrauding important government programs,” said Robert M. Duncan Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “This theft of benefits frustrated the purpose of these programs and depleted the limited resources available to assist proper beneficiaries of assistance. It has now resulted in prison sentences. Due to the quality work of SSA-OIG, these defendants will now be held accountable.”

“The Social Security Office of the Inspector General is committed to protecting Supplemental Security Income payments and related benefits, and to pursuing individuals who exploit government programs that exist for those who truly need them,” said Wayne R. Warren, Acting Special Agentin Charge of the SSA OIG Atlanta Field Division. “We thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office for prosecuting this case, and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate cases of government benefit fraud.”

Under federal law, the Defendants must serve 85 percent of their prison sentences and will be under the supervision of the U.S. Probation Office for three years.

Robert M. Duncan, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky; James Robert Brown, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the FBI; Wayne R. Warren, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Atlanta Field Division of the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, and Andy Beshear, Attorney General of Kentucky, jointly made the announcement.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI, the SSA-OIG, and the Kentucky Office of the Attorney General. The United States was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Erin Roth and Ken Taylor.

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