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Hays woman pleads guilty to Social Security, Medicaid fraud

9/24/2013

Special to The Hays Daily News

Special to The Hays Daily News

TOPEKA -- A woman from Hays has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $104,000 in government funds from Social Security and Medicaid, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said Tuesday.

Earlyne C. Weigel, 57, pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government money.

In her plea, she admitted in March 2003 she began receiving benefits from Social Security. Her benefits were adjusted to take into account her household income, including income from her husband. In 2005, she went to the Social Security field office in Hays and falsely reported she no longer lived with her husband. As a result, from 2004 to 2010 she received more than $43,473 in Supplemental Security Income benefits to which she was not entitled. In November 2008, investigators interviewed her husband, who told them he and his wife never had lived apart while married.

Weigel also applied for and received Medicaid coverage beginning in 2004. Her Medicaid coverage was contingent on her eligibility for Supplemental Security Income benefits. From 2004 to 2010, she fraudulently received more than $60,919 in Medicaid benefits.

Sentencing is set for Dec. 9. She faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000. Grissom commended the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, the Medicaid and Fraud Abuse Division of the Kansas Attorney General's Office and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Trey Alford for their work on the case.