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Sentencing continued in welfare fraud case

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Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 7:36 pm

CHATHAM — The former Danville teacher who was found guilty of five counts of welfare fraud in June will only be sentenced on one count of welfare fraud after the charges were merged.

Cathy Turner Myers appeared in Pittsylvania County Circuit Court on Tuesday morning to be sentenced on five counts of welfare fraud, but a defense motion was granted to have the charges merged resulting in sentencing for one charge.

Judge Stacey W. Moreau ruled that case law on the single larceny doctrine supported treating the multiple charges as one charge rather than treating them as separate crimes, said Pittsylvania County Commonwealth’s Attorney David Grimes.

The single larceny doctrine is defined as the “principle of criminal law that taking of different items of property belonging to either the same or different owners at the same time and place constitutes one act of larceny if the theft is part of one larcenous plan,” according to uslegal.com.

From June 2010 through December 2012, Myers, a former teacher in Danville Public Schools, fraudulently obtained close to $20,000 in Medicaid benefits and food stamp benefits through the Department of Social Services in Pittsylvania County, Grimes said.

Because the money was obtained continuously from the same place, Moreau found that Myers could be sentenced under the single larceny doctrine. Grimes said it is a decision the commonwealth cannot appeal.

During the course of the two years Myers was receiving benefits, she never disclosed that she was employed with Danville Public Schools. She reported “a modest” income from a homeward bound instruction company, Grimes said.

The scam came to light when Myers came in for a review and brought a paycheck stub with her to show the income from the homebound instruction company. The year to date amount showed a much larger amount of money earned and the case was referred to the Department of Social Services fraud investigators.

Grimes said Myers maintained that she had submitted correct information until she was confronted by the investigator. He said the nearly $20,000 Myers obtained was paid back before the trial started.

Myers will appear in court Sept. 25 for sentencing.

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