A woman accused of Social Security fraud admitted that she spent benefits paid to help her son on herself and to support her drug habit.
Renee Rachelle Voorhis, also known as Renee Voorhis Edgerley, 28, of Greeley, Colo., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Billings on Wednesday to Social Security fraud for illegally receiving $82,730 from November 2005 until January 2012 in Billings.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Fehr said in court records that Voorhis was married to Nicholas Edgerley and the couple had a son in 2004. Edgerley died in 2005, and Voorhis applied for disability insurance benefits on behalf of her child with the Social Security Administration. The agency awarded Voorhis benefits for her child and designated her as the child’s representative payee.
In February 2012, Voorhis’ father told the agency that he and his wife had been raising Voorhis’ son since October 2005 and were getting no financial help from Voorhis, even though she was receiving federal benefits, Fehr said.
Voorhis helped them financially for four months, then stopped. When Voorhis’ parents asked their daughter about receiving the benefits, Voorhis threatened to take the child from their custody, Fehr said. Voorhis’ parents said their daughter was a drug addict and had been in and out of jail since the child began living with them.
Voorhis admitted to using the money for her own living expenses and to support her drug habit, Fehr said.
Voorhis faces a maximum of five years in prison and a possible $250,000 fine. The government intends to seek $82,730 restitution. Senior U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon set sentencing for Sept. 9 in Helena. Voorhis is in custody.