Woodville woman was sentenced for Social Security fraud, health care fraud, and theft of public money

Jan 9, 2024

From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Maine

BANGOR, Maine: A Woodville woman was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Bangor for Social Security fraud, health care fraud, and theft of public money.

U.S. District Judge Lance E. Walker ordered Rella Austin-Kimball, 51, to pay $103,596.91 in restitution, consisting of $78,858.25 to the Social Security Administration (SSA), and $4,550.66 for the MaineCare program and $20,188 for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) administered by the Maine Department of Health & Human Services (ME/DHHS). Austin-Kimball was also sentenced to serve three years of probation. She pleaded guilty on May 26, 2023.

According to court records, from about January 2005 through March 2021, Austin-Kimball lied to the SSA about her husband’s presence in her household and failed to report her receipt of alimony payments following divorce to fraudulently appear eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. Austin-Kimball also concealed her husband’s presence from ME/DHHS from about January 2005 to July 2017, during which time she received MaineCare and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. By lying about her husband’s presence, Austin-Kimball was also able to fraudulently receive SSI, MaineCare, and SNAP benefits for a then-minor child.

In multiple benefit eligibility reviews, Austin-Kimball falsely represented to the SSA and ME/DHHS that she and her husband had separated in January 2005 and had lived separately since that time. Following her divorce, she failed to disclose her receipt of alimony payments during eligibility reviews. She failed to disclose these events despite knowing that she was required to and that they would affect her eligibility to receive benefits for herself and on behalf of her child.

SSA’s Office of the Inspector General and ME/DHHS’s Fraud Investigation and Recovery Unit investigated the case.

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