Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 16, 2013

9 charged with welfare fraud

Staff report
The Independent

Covington — Nine were charged with fraudulently collecting money and benefits from federal and state assistance programs, for more than a decade in some cases.

A federal grand jury in Covington returned seven indictments Thursday charging a man and seven women from Carter, Boyd, Lawrence, Morgan and Bracken counties with Supplemental Security Income (SSI) fraud and health care fraud. An additional man was charged only with making false statements related to alleged fraud and one of the women was also charged with aggravated identity theft.

Those charged were Dena Ramey, 57, and Granvell Ramey,72, of Boyd County; Yvonne Campbell, 47, of Bracken County; Junty Kay Ratliff, 66, and Randall Dale Ratliff 73, of Morgan County; Linda Lou Tackett, age unavailable, and Ila Jean Rose, 56, of Carter County; and Diana Lynn Rice, 66, of Lawrence County.

According to the indictments, the defendants fraudulently obtained benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Medicaid by concealing and intentionally failing to disclose their true living arrangements and financial resources.

The indictments allege that over the course of years, many of the defendants told SSA agents that they had divorced or separated from their spouses, when in fact they were living together and sharing living expenses. Had SSA known the defendants’ true living arrangements and financial resources, the defendants would have been ineligible for SSI and Medicaid benefits, or their eligibility would have been reduced greatly.

SSI is a cash assistance program designed to provide financial assistance to disabled and elderly people who have little or no income or resources. Based on an agreement between Kentucky and the SSA, Kentuckians who are eligible for SSI also qualify for Medicaid coverage.

A grand jury indictment is a formal accusation of guilt and does not establish guilt.