Federal prison ordered for Clinton woman

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Gazette staff
Wednesday, December 18, 2013

MADISON—A Clinton woman was sentenced Tuesday to six months in prison for defrauding the Social Security Administration and state and federal Medicaid and Medicare programs.

Amira Avendano-Hernandez, 42, also was ordered to pay nearly $232,000 in restitution.

According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, Avendano-Hernandez, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, first applied for Social Security benefits using the name and Social Security number of another person in May 2002. She submitted another application for benefits, signed as Wanda Aquino, in May 2005 asserting a disability at the Monroe County Offices of Social Security.

Following the disability determination, and by using the name and Social Security number of another person, she became unlawfully eligible for Medicaid and began receiving monthly disability income checks that ultimately totaled nearly $66,500 by December 2011.

In addition, investigators obtained records that confirmed that from 2004 to 2009, the Medicaid program paid $153,074 and the Medicare program paid $12,389 to medical providers for the defendant's care as a result of her fraudulent application for disability.

The charges against Avendano-Hernandez were the result of a joint investigation by the Office of Inspector General, Social Security Administration and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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