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Lander woman sentenced to five years probation for fraud

Sep 27, 2013 - From staff reports

Tina F. Knott, 40, of Lander, has been sentenced to five years of probation for social security fraud.

According to court documents, she concealed the fact that she was no longer caring for a minor child. Instead, she continued to receive social security benefits meant for mothers with children in their care.

Charges

The charges against Knott allege that, beginning April 2008 and continuing until May 2011, she falsely affirmed that a minor child lived with her, while she "well knew" that the child was not under her care and custody.

"Having knowledge of the occurrence of an event affecting her continued right to social security (as a) mother with child in care, (Knott) concealed and failed to disclose such event with the intent to fraudulently secure payment when no payment was authorized," court documents state.

She faced five separate charges initially, including one charge each for the four years she perpetrated the fraud and one charge covering the entire timeframe. The first four charges were later dismissed.

In total, penalties against Knott could have included up to 25 years imprisonment, a $1.25 million fine, three years supervised release and a $500 special assessment.

Change of plea

Knott first appeared in court April 10, and she pleaded not guilty April 27 to the charges against her. The government did not seek detention in the case.

A jury trial was set for June 17, but it was later canceled when a change of plea hearing was scheduled for June 19. During the hearing, Knott pleaded guilty to the fifth charge against her; the others were dismissed.

On Sept. 12, Knott was sentenced to five years probation with special conditions and a $100 special assessment by Chief Federal District Court Judge Nancy D. Freudenthal. Restitution was ordered and will be determined at a later date.

Knott reportedly appeared at the sentencing pursuant to a subpoena. Her case was investigated by the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General.

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