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He Said, She Said

Tax return documents: Form 1040 - U.S. individual income tax return form and Social Security number card.
Senior Director of Strategic Alliances
LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

After a lifetime of working, Doyle Pearson was ready to retire and do all the things retirees get to do. A little fishing, gardening, maybe some golf or simply enjoying some time with his wife, Virginia. So, he went to apply for his Social Security retirement benefits. He filled out his forms, including his age, that he was married and lived at the same address as his wife. But instead of getting benefits, Doyle’s application led to an investigation, because Virginia had been lying on her benefits application for the past thirteen years.

Virginia Pearson applied for Social Security Income (SSI) and was approved for benefits in 2008. In Virginia’s first application she stated she lived in a home with her husband, Doyle Pearson, which meant that his income and resources were considered in determining the amount of SSI for which Virginia was eligible. One month after receiving her first SSI payment, Virginia reported to SSA that her husband had moved out of the home. Virginia’s SSI benefits increased significantly after SSA removed Doyle contributions and re-calculated Virginia’s benefits. Between November 2008 and December 2019, Virginia received nine cost of living adjustments. But during that same time, Virginia also received two letters from SSA detailing her obligation to report changes to her income, resources, and household composition. Friendly reminders from the SSA to do the right thing. Something fraudsters never do! Virginia didn’t heed that advice and maintained that she lived alone, rented a home, had one savings account and co-owned one vehicle. Pearson attested that Doyle Pearson lived at another address and that they had been separated for 15 years.

The investigation, initiated because of Doyle’s SSA application, determined that Virginia’s had been lying. Virginia didn’t limit herself to just federal benefit funds. She made similar misrepresentations to Montana Public Assistance. In total, Virginia fraudulently obtained $101,136 from SSA, $23,116 from the Montana Department of Health and Human Services, and $18,203 from Medicaid.

Great job by the Social Security Administration for this investigation.

Today’s Fraud Of The Day is based on article “Philipsburg woman sentenced for $140,000 in Social Security fraud” published by NBC Montana on September 2, 2022

A woman from Philipsburg pleaded guilty to lying about her income and resources for over 10 years to get more Social Security Administration benefits. Virginia Kathleen Pearson, 56, will be sentenced to prison for more than $140,000 in Social Security fraud.

Pearson was sentenced to one year and one day in prison with three years of supervised release. She was ordered to pay full restitution.

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