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September 15, 10

NEWS / Former Hayti Heights Police Chief Sentenced to Nearly Two Years in Federal Prison for Social Securit

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO—The United States Attorney’s Office announced today that a Pemiscot County man was sentenced to federal prison for Social Security disability fraud.

VERNIS FARMER of Hayti Heights, Missouri, was sentenced to 21 months’ imprisonment on one felony count of making a false statement to obtain Social Security disability benefits and two felony counts of Concealing Information from the Social Security Administration. The term of imprisonment will be followed by three years of supervised release.

Following a two-day jury trial earlier this year, Farmer was convicted of the three charges. The evidence presented during the trial revealed that Farmer was determined to be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits in the late 1990s. Recipients of such benefits have a number of reporting obligations, including: promptly reporting any employment or change in work activity.

On March 13, 2007, Farmer reported to the Kennett Social Security Office that he was working 20 hours per week and earning only $800 per month, as the police chief for the City of Hayti Heights, between November 2006 and February 2007. The amount of money he reported was important, because the Social Security Disability work rules allowed beneficiaries to earn up to $860 per month in the year 2006 and $900 per month in the year 2007, without having their benefits suspended. Bank records showed that Farmer was actually receiving $1,920 per month for full-time work as the police chief.

Since Farmer reported his earnings were below the maximum amount, the SSA continued to pay his disability benefits. In addition to the nearly two-year term of imprisonment that was ordered, Farmer was ordered to repay the Social Security Administration $43,374.50. That figure represents the disability benefits Farmer fraudulently received in conjunction with the current criminal case. The District Court found that since 2001, Farmer fraudulently caused the SSA to make more than $66,000 in SSA disability benefits that should not have been awarded.

The criminal investigation of Farmer’s activities was initiated following an on-line tip made to the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) Hotline, which facilitates the reporting of allegations of fraud, waste, abuse or mismanagement of U.S. Department of Transportation programs or operations. If you suspect someone is involved in social security fraud, reports can be made to hotline@oig.gov.

This case was investigated by the Office of Inspector General-Social Security Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Kennett Social Security Administration Office. Assistant United States Attorney Abbie Crites-Leoni handled the prosecution for the Government.


Tags: criminal investigation,


AnnaMaria Realbuto
Thank you for all your assistance and efficiency...
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Kateryna Melnychenko
Thanks a lot Anton!...
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Rani Payne
Thank you so much! I’m sure I will be in touch again with something else that will need to be apost...
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Serge Bauer Law
Thank you again for your help with this case!...
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