(STL.News) – A Bath County woman, Della Mae Barnett, 62, was sentenced in federal court Thursday, to 12 months in prison, for committing Social Security fraud.
Barnett pleaded guilty in July 2019, before United States District Judge Karen K. Caldwell. In Barnett’s plea agreement, she admitted that, from September 2006 to February 2016, she knowingly and willfully made false representations to the SSA, indicating that her husband did not live in the same household with her, to avoid his income making her ineligible to receive Supplemental Security Income benefits. Her husband was, in fact, a household member, and his income would have impacted her entitlement to SSI benefits.
Barnett fraudulently received $77,003.00 from the SSA. Barnett also admitted that her associated coverage, under the Kentucky Medicaid Program, was likewise fraudulent. The total amount of inappropriate benefits expended by Kentucky Medicaid was $157,684.78. As part of her sentence, the Court ordered Barnett to repay these amounts in restitution, totaling $234,687.78.
Under federal law, Barnett must serve, at a minimum, 85 percent of her prison sentence. She will then be under the supervision of the United States Probation Office for three years, after being released.
Robert M. Duncan, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, and Wayne R. Warren, Resident Agent-in-Charge, SSA Office of the Inspector General, Nashville Office, jointly announced the sentence.
The investigation was directed by the SSA-OIG. The United States was represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney James T. Chapman.