Jessamine County

Jessamine Co. woman who had $200,000 in cash filed bankruptcy, federal indictment says

A Jessamine County woman who listed only $1,500 and a used Chevrolet pickup truck as assets when she filed bankruptcy actually had more than $200,000 at her house, authorities said in court documents.

Sheryl A. Bruner also allegedly received disability payments after claiming she couldn't work, when in fact she operated a business for several years, according to an indictment.

A federal grand jury indicted Bruner on Thursday on charges of stealing disability funds, concealing assets from the Social Security Administration, lying to the agency and making false statements in her bankruptcy case.

The indictment said Bruner started getting Supplemental Security Income benefits in 2002, claiming a disability kept her from working.

In 2003, however, she started a business called Support Source, which provided services to people with disabilities, and received "substantial compensation" through 2012, the indictment alleged.

Bruner started work in 2012 for another business that received Medicaid payments to serve people with disabilities, the indictment said.

When she filed bankruptcy in May 2013, Bruner listed her annual income at more than $100,000.

She had told the Social Security Administration several times through the years that she couldn't work and had little property or income, however.

Her bankruptcy petition said she had no cash on hand, $1,500 in a checking account and a 2001 Chevy pickup with 111,000 miles on it, worth $1,500.

The indictment charged that she actually had a large amount of cash, as well as money in bank and trust accounts and several vehicles.

The cash surfaced when investigators from Attorney General Jack Conway's office searched Bruner's house Dec. 5.

The investigator, Jason Baker, said in a court document that he was investigating Bruner for SSI and Medicaid fraud. Court documents do not disclose what led to the investigation.

In the Dec. 5 search, authorities found more than $200,000 in cash at Bruner's house, Baker said.

Four days later, Bruner went to a local bank and told the manager she was expecting a wire transfer of $493,000 from a bank out of state, Baker said in his affidavit.

Bruner told the bank manager she planned to move to Mexico as soon as she found someone to care for her disabled mother and sister, Baker said.

Bankruptcy trustee Phaedra Spradlin sought an order for Bruner to surrender her passport so she couldn't flee. Judge Tracey N. Wise granted the motion Jan. 3.

Spradlin said in another motion that it appears Bruner has interests in several businesses or trusts with assets of more than $1 million, as well as property in Lexington; four vehicles, including a 2009 Cadillac Escalade; and two motorcycles.

Bruner is to appear in court on the criminal charges next week.

One of the charges against her carries a maximum sentence of 10 years, while the maximum on the other three is five years.