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Disabling Disability Fraud

Senior Director of Strategic Alliances
LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Being disabled makes it very difficult to hold a job and earn a paycheck. That’s where Social Security disability insurance comes in to save the day. This government program provides benefits to disabled workers when they can no longer work due to their disability. Shannon Nenninger, 49, of Imperial, Mo., illegally collected more than $450,000 from the Social Security Administration (SSA) by falsely claiming she was disabled. (There’s nothing right about that at all.)

The former Anheuser-Busch InBev employee conspired with her chiropractor, Thomas Hobbs, and employees of Power Med in Arnold to file false claims that enabled the collection of more than $12 million from SSA, Anheuser-Busch InBev, and other insurance companies.

In her plea agreement, Nenninger stated that Hobbs had quite the reputation among Anheuser-Busch InBev employees for providing false medical leave slips and exaggerating medical conditions. (I’m sure deceptive patients loved this because they could falsely submit claims for disability insurance payments to the federal government, as well as private insurance companies, Then, sit back and watch the money roll in.)

Nenninger paid Hobbs $6,100 over nearly 5 years to help her collect $457,107.30 from the Social Security Administration (SSA), Prudential Insurance and MetLife. Then, she used the government funds – your hard-earned tax dollars – for international travel and concert tickets to name a few expenditures. She also did yardwork, fished, and attended social events even though she had previously claimed she could no longer participate in those types of activities due to her disability. (Newsflash – lying eventually catches up to you.) 

In February 2019, an undercover FBI agent posing as an Anheuser-Busch InBev employee, made an appointment at Power Med. Hobbs and several employees explained how the agent could apply for disability coverage and provided a document with disability package pricing. Prices ranged from $125 for disability plates to $4,000 – $6,000 for certain insurance companies. (Kind of a fraud menu of sorts.) The agent agreed to pay $1,000 for his first visit and provide another down payment at the next visit.

Nenninger pleaded guilty to conspiracy involving healthcare fraud, making a false statement to a government agency, theft of government funds and Social Security fraud. When sentenced, she faces 18 to 24 months behind bars and could be ordered to pay restitution of $457,107.30. (Sounds like a great idea to me.)

To add to Hobbs’ shenanigans, he also misrepresented himself as a licensed medical doctor with a degree from the University of Health Sciences of Antigua in the British West Indies. (It was obtained falsely. Does that surprise you?) He also used a fake U.S. Medical License number and was also indicted for being a felon in possession of a firearm following a search of his chiropractic office.

Hobbs pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he could serve a maximum of five years in prison and pay a fine of $250,000. Healthcare fraud and the theft of government funds each carry a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or both. Restitution to the victims is mandatory. The weapons charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or both. (Let’s hope that the judges in these two cases provide a punishment that is appropriate for Nenniger’s gross exaggeration and Hobbs’ greed, effectively disabling the opportunity to commit more disability fraud.) 

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “Imperial woman pleads guilty to role in disability fraud scheme,” dated October 22, 2021.

Shannon Nenninger, 49, of Imperial admitted to fraudulently collecting more than $450,000 by falsely claiming to be disabled. The former Anheuser-Busch InBev employee pleaded guilty to conspiracy involving health care fraud, making false statement to a government agency, theft of government funds and Social Security fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office reported.

She pleaded guilty Oct. 12 in the Eastern District of Missouri and her sentencing set for Jan. 19 in front of U.S. District Judge Henry E. Autrey. She faces a prison sentence of 18 to 24 months, and she could be ordered to repay the money when she appears before U.S. according to the plea agreement.

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