PIKEVILLE — Three Pike County women are accused of lying to fraudulently obtain over $200,000 in government benefits.
On Aug. 23, a federal grand jury indicted Sasha Dehart, Patty Justice and Alice Cole on theft and fraud charges. The charges accuse each of the three women with concealing income made by people living in their households, in order to obtain higher benefits payments.
Dehart is accused of concealing the fact that she lived with and received financial support from her husband, between April 2007 and August 2011. During that time, she allegedly received overpayments of $29,876.36 in SSI benefits and $37,872.57 in health care benefits. She is charged with fraudulent acts, health care fraud and receiving stolen government property.
Justice is accused of not telling authorities that she lived with someone who contributed to household expenses, from July 2002 to April 2011, resulting in an alleged overpayment of $65,088 in SSI benefits. She is charged with theft of government property and Social Security fraud.
Cole is accused of staging the most extensive and expensive fraud, dating from November 1996 until this month. She is accused of concealing that she was living with her husband during that time, allowing her to receive alleged overpayments of $110,128 in SSI benefits and $25,998.17 in health care benefits. Cole faces charges of Social Security fraud, health care fraud and theft of government property.
If convicted, Dehart and Cole each face maximum penalties of 25 years in prison and $750,000 in fines. Justice faces maximums of 15 years and $500,000.
All three cases have been assigned to be heard in front of U.S. District Amul R. Thapar, in Pikeville.