Quoted from The Barbourville Paper. A Knox County couple was arrested after they allegedly duped the federal government hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of taxpayer money.
Leaman Merida, 61, and his wife, Faye Merida, 60, were indicted by the U.S. District Court in London on federal charges in August.
The indictment alleged the Meridas defrauded the federal and state governments of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid benefits totaling more than $300,000.
Authorities claim the Meridas "concealed and failed to disclose to the Social Security Administration, U.S. Department Health and Human Services and the Kentucky Department of Medicaid Services (DMS) with whom they resided, that individual's income and their shared income and expenses", which caused the DMS to overpay healthcare benefits
According to the indictment, the Meridas' alleged fraud dated back to March 2000.
They were arrested and taken to the Laurel County Detention Center.
On Monday, the Meridas entered a guilty plea in U.S. District Court on one of the counts, according to court documents.
Under terms of the plea agreement, prosecutors have agreed to dismiss all remaining counts at the formal sentencing.
Formal sentencing was set for April 8, 2013.
Under federal law, the maximum statutory punishment can't be more than 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release.
After pleading guilty, the Defendant will make a full and complete financial disclosure to the United States and will assist the United States in the gathering of all financial information.
According to court documents, Merida will be required to complete and sign a financial disclosure statement or affidavit, will sign financial releases prepared by the United States and will submit to a deposition in aid of collection at times and places that the United States directs.
He also agreed to pay a total of $88,006.42 in restitution.