Philipsburg Woman Sentenced for Social Security, Medicaid Fraud
56-year-old Virginia Pearson of Philipsburg will be spending a year and a day in prison after admitting in Missoula Federal Justice Court on Wednesday that she lied for over 10 years to receive Social Security and Medicaid benefits that she was not eligible to receive.
Federal court records indicate that Pearson knew that she was obligated to report her income and other resources, but instead lied for over 10 years to receive over $101,000 in Social Security benefits, over $23,000 from the Montana Department of Health and Human Services, and over $18,000 from Medicaid.
Pearson applied for Social Security benefits in 2006 and was approved to receive the benefits starting in 2008.
Pearson is married to Doyle Pearson, but falsely claimed that he had moved out of their home, thus increasing her benefits significantly. She received nine cost of living adjustments and two ‘change in payment’ letters which explicitly detailed her obligations to report all her income and resources.
An investigation revealed that her statements were false and that she and her husband lived together and co-owned the house.
Montana’s U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said Pearson was sentenced to one year and a day in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $142,542.
U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy presided over the case and remanded Pearson into custody.
Inspector General for the Social Security Administration, Gail S. Ennis, said:
“This sentence holds Ms. Pearson accountable for defrauding government programs. As part of her scheme, she abused the Supplemental Security Income program, the needs-based safety net for the most vulnerable among us by falsifying her true circumstances and causing SSA to improperly pay her over $101,000. My office will continue to pursue those who exploit SSA programs for personal gain. I thank our law enforcement partners for their support in this investigation and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for prosecuting this case.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Karla Painter prosecuted the case.