By Rachel Dove
CHARLESTON – Shannon Collins, 41, of Logan, was recently indicted by a federal grand jury sitting in Charleston for allegedly committing 35 counts of mail fraud, access device fraud, social security fraud and aggravated identity theft while employed by the Logan office of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.
According to the indictment, Collins, also known as Shannon Varney, worked as a case worker in the Logan DHHR office in 2009. Collins is charged with using the social security numbers of two deceased individuals to establish false accounts through which she could claim benefits. Collins then accessed the accounts, filed false claims and had benefits mailed to her post office box. The defendant is also said to have mailed herself two EBT cards, which replaced food stamps, which she used until December 2009.
The indictment alleges that, from April 2009 to December 2009, Collins defrauded the DHHR of approximately $52,000.
If convicted, Collins faces up to 20 years in prison for each count of mail fraud, and two years of mandatory incarceration for each count of aggravated identity theft. She also faces up to five years incarceration for the misuse of social security numbers and 10 years for the access device fraud.
The investigation was conducted by the Office of the Inspector General for DHHR, and was assisted by the United States Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Social Security Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Assistant U.S. Attorney Erik S. Goes is in charge of the prosecution.