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Va. couple pleads guilty in benefits theft

Thursday - 9/19/2013, 12:48pm  ET

ABINGDON, Va. (AP) -- A Russell County man and his wife have pleaded guilty in a federal benefits theft case.

Billy Leonard Vance and Brenda Gale Vance of Rosedale entered the pleas Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Abingdon to conspiring to defraud the United States.

They each face up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines. Sentencing is set for Dec. 11.

Federal prosecutors say Billy Vance was working while receiving Social Security disability benefits. The couple worked at the same company from 2003 through 2012, but their employer reported Billy Vance's income as having been earned by Brenda Vance.

The Social Security Administration continued to pay him disability benefits.

Prosecutors say the couple paid nearly $187,000 in restitution at their plea hearing as part of a plea agreement.

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