FORMER WEST VIRGINIA DHHR EMPLOYEE PLEADS GUILTY TO FRAUD

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Shannon Collins, 41, of Logan, West Virginia, plead guilty  in federal court in Charleston to defrauding the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR).  In 2009, Collins, also known as Shannon Varney, worked as a case worker for the DHHR office in Logan County.  Using the social security number of two deceased individuals, Collins set up bogus accounts upon which she made claims for benefits, and had the checks mailed to her. Collins also obtained Mountain State Cards (formerly known as the food stamp program), which she used from April to December of 2009.  The total combined loss was in excess of $58,000.

Collins faces a maximum penalty of 30 years confinement and a potential fine of up to $500,000.  Sentencing has been scheduled for October 29, 2014.

The investigation was conducted by the West Virginia DHHR, assisted by the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the United States Offices of Inspector General for the Department Health and Human Services, the Social Security Administration and the Department of Agriculture.  Assistant United States Attorney Erik  S. Goes is in charge of the prosecution. 

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