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Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General

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For media inquiries only, contact:  Brian J. Gottstein
Email: bgottstein@oag.state.va.us (best contact method)
Phone: 804-786-5874

Brian McGinn
Phone: 434-295-8672
Fax: 434- 293-4910
E-mail: brian.mcginn@usdoj.gov
www.usdoj.gov/usao/vaw

United States Attorney's Office
Western District of Virginia
United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy

 Joint release from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and U.S. Attorney Tim Heaphy...

 Danville woman pleads guilty to stealing social security benefits

DANVILLE (January 30, 2013) -- A 33-year-old Danville woman pled guilty yesterday morning in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Danville to stealing more than $34,000 of Social Security benefits intended for disabled individuals. Joie Scott Whitt, 33, of Danville, waived her right to be indicted and pled guilty yesterday morning to one count of theft of government monies. She faces a maximum possible penalty of up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.

"Ms. Whitt's actions are another deplorable example of fraud being committed by health care providers as 'just the cost of doing business,'" said Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. "Providers like Ms. Whitt who bilk the system aren't only defrauding those in their care and the taxpayers, they're also stealing limited Social Security or Medicaid funds and keeping people truly in need from receiving the care they require. We will continue to do all we can to protect Virginia's most vulnerable citizens from predators like Ms. Whitt."

"Ms. Whitt betrayed the trust of those families who put their loved ones in her care," United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. "She stole money that was intended for those suffering from mental health problems, mental retardation and substance abuse issues. We will continue to do all we can to ensure that Social Security benefits assist those who need it rather line the pockets fraudsters like Ms. Whitt."

According to evidence presented at yesterday's guilty plea hearing by Assistant United States Attorney Charlene R. Day, Whitt worked as the bookkeeper for Alternative Community Experience (ACE), a representative payee organization that provides residential support services and day support services for individuals with mental health illnesses, mental retardation and substance abuse problems. Whitt admitted today that while serving as the bookkeeper she embezzled $34,505 in Social Security Administration benefits from the business' operating account.

The investigation of the case was conducted by Virginia Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Social Security Administration. Assistant Attorney General and Special Assistant United States Attorney Vaso Doubles and Assistant United States Attorney Charlene Day are prosecuting the case for the United States.

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A copy of this news release may be found on the attorney general's web site here.

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