A Bowlegs woman was sentenced Wednesday to four years of probation for making false claims to receive more than $121,482 worth of medical and social security benefits and food stamps.
Mary Ann Flowers made false claims to receive medical benefits for treatment of cancer and other ailments, according to court records. Flowers was born in 1951, records show. A specific date of birth is not listed.
On Wednesday, an Oklahoma City federal court judge ordered Flowers to spend 120 days in home detention and make restitution payments totaling $121,482.60 to the state Department of Human Services, the state Agriculture Department and the Social Security Administration, in addition to her probation.
Flowers declined to discuss the case Wednesday, but she wrote in a statement for the court that she was sorry for her actions. She said she didn't believe she would be alive today if she hadn't received the help she did.
Flowers was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 1994, according to her statement. She wrote that she became desperate after she exhausted her private health insurance coverage, which had a $1 million cap.
Flowers and her husband weren't rich, but they weren't poor enough to qualify for health benefits, so Flowers lied to qualify for medical care services, said Rob Pyron, Flowers' attorney.
â€œShe is a truly remorseful, repentant person today and has been for some time,â€ Pyron said.
Flowers' cancer is in remission, but she suffers from several other debilitating ailments, Pyron said. He said Flowers takes 10 to 13 different medications each day to treat her medical conditions, which include emphysema, osteoporosis and severe arthritis. She is unable to work, Pyron said.
U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton said the crime was a serious one that involved a substantial amount of money, but he considered Flowers' motive when giving her sentence. Flowers' motivation to receive necessary medical treatment, combined with a lack of previous criminal history created a set of â€œsomewhat extraordinaryâ€ circumstances, Heaton said.
â€œObviously that does not excuse the conduct, but it does perhaps make it less problematic than it might be,â€ Heaton said.