Casper woman ordered to repay $65k in misused federal assistance dollars

Mary Elaine Whitney, aka Mary Ellen Whitney, 62, of Casper, Wyoming, was sentenced by Federal District Court Judge Scott W. Skavdahl on April 19, 2016, for wrongful conversion of social security payments. Whitney served as a representative payee for her son who was a beneficiary of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and resident of Circle C Resources Living Facility in Casper. SSI is a cash assistance program provided by the Social Security Administration which assures a minimum level of income to persons who are aged, blind, or disabled and who have limited income and resources. SSI benefits may be paid to a representative payee who is then required to use all of the money for the beneficiary’s care. During a representative payee review audit at the Circle C Resources, it was discovered that Whitney had not been providing SSI payments to the living facility. Between January 2005 and February 2015, Whitney received over $65,000 in SSI benefits on behalf of her son but then wrongly used the money for her own expenses rather than paying for her son’s needs. Whitney received a sentence of six months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. Whitney was also ordered to pay $65,082.44 in restitution. This case was investigated by the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General. #oilcity #news