ASHLAND — An Ashland, Ky., couple, previously convicted of devising a scheme to defraud the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Kentucky Medicaid Program, out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in benefit payments, has been sentenced to federal prison.
U.S. District Court Judge David L. Bunning sentenced Diana Lynn Ball, 59, to 36 months in federal prison for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) fraud, Medicaid fraud, theft of government property and making a false statement. Her husband, Lawrence Ball, 59, received 24 months for making a false statement. Judge Bunning has also ordered the couple to pay restitution, equal to the amount of the improper benefits received.
Both defendants were tried and convicted in July. Evidence at the trial established that, from 1996 until December of 2013, Diana Ball intentionally concealed her true living arrangement from the SSA, in order to fraudulently collect SSI and Medicaid benefits.
According to testimony, Ball repeatedly told the SSA she had separated from her husband and was not sharing living expenses. In reality, Ball had been living with her husband and was receiving financial support from him. Had the SSA been aware of the true living arrangement, Ball would not have been eligible to receive the benefit payments.
SSI is an income assistance program designed to provide financial assistance to elderly and disabled individuals who meet the program’s eligibility requirements. Kentuckians who are eligible for SSI also qualify for benefits under the Kentucky Medicaid Program.
Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, and Guy P. Fallen, Special Agent in Charge, Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, jointly made the announcement today.
The investigation was conducted by the SSA, Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura K. Voorhees prosecuted this case on behalf of the federal government.