(STL.News) – Tayon Hutchins Fowler, 42, of Florissant, MO, pled guilty to one count of making a false statement to the Social Security Administration and one count of wire fraud regarding a scheme to defraud Mercedes Benz. Hutchins Fowler appeared today before U.S. District Judge Ronnie L. White who accepted her plea and set sentencing for March 11, 2020.
According to the plea agreement, Hutchins Fowler submitted an application to the U.S. Social Security Administration (“SSA”) for disability payments in which she claimed to be disabled and unable to work because of major depression and other conditions. In reliance on her representations, SSA paid Hutchins Fowler periodic disability payments from November 2012 through March 2019. These SSA payments totaled approximately $200,000.
During 2012-17, Hutchins Fowler owned a home health care business and annually received over $100,000 in income from this business during 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. In 2018, Ms. Hutchins Fowler made a series of false statements to SSA in order to continue to receive disability payments from SSA, telling the agency that she had not worked, had not received income from working, and had difficulty with shopping, driving, understanding directions, remembering, and getting along with people.
Hutchins Fowler also pled guilty to committing wire fraud. During December 2017, Ms. Hutchins Fowler purchased a 2018 Mercedes Benz GLC 43 automobile at a dealership located in St. Louis, Missouri, using falsified monthly bank statements, checks, corporate records, and tax materials to fraudulently obtain financing for the vehicle.
The false statement charges carry a maximum possible penalty of five years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000 or both imprisonment and a fine. The wire fraud charges carry a maximum possible penalty of twenty years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, or both imprisonment and a fine. In determining the actual sentences, a Judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.
This case was investigated by the Office of Inspector General for the Social Security Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Missouri Attorney General’s Office.