Nicholasville woman pleads guilty to state charge of defrauding Medicaid

bestep@herald-leader.comJune 14, 2014 

A Nicholasville woman convicted in a federal bankruptcy-fraud case has pleaded guilty to a state charge of defrauding the Medicaid program, according to Attorney General Jack Conway's office.

Sheryl Bruner, 51, agreed to a sentence of 18 months in prison and an order to pay $550,000 in restitution, according to a news release.

The plea deal also calls for Bruner to forfeit $223,028 that investigators seized from her home during a search in December.

Bruner admitted that from June 2005 through December 2013, she submitted forged paperwork in order to get people qualified for Medicaid, then billed the program for services for people who had not been properly qualified, Conway's office said.

Bruner operated a service called Support Source, which had an office in Lexington and provided care for people with disabilities, from 2003 until 2012.

She later worked for a similar company in Lee County and took clients there.

Bruner reported monthly income of $12,500 when she filed for bankruptcy last year.

Since 2002, however, Bruner also had been receiving federal disability payments after claiming she could not hold down a job because of depression and anxiety, according to court records.

The income from her jobs and her other assets would have disqualified Bruner from receiving disability checks if she had disclosed them to the Social Security Administration.

Bruner was convicted in federal court of stealing disability funds, concealing assets from the Social Security Administration, lying to the agency, money laundering and bankruptcy fraud.

Bruner said in her bankruptcy claim that she had only $1,500 in a checking account and a used Chevrolet pickup truck worth $1,500.

In fact, she had hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and trusts, rental properties and several vehicles, including a Cadillac Escalade she'd bought with $30,000 cash, according to testimony and court records.

Bruner is scheduled to be sentenced next week on the federal charges. She faces up to 20 years in prison on some counts.

Her attorney has asked for a new trial for her in federal court, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Taylor has opposed.

The attorney general's office and the inspector general's office of the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services investigated allegations of fraud by Bruner.

She pleaded guilty on the state charges Friday in Lexington.

Bill Estep: (606) 678-4655. Twitter: @billestep1

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