Ramona Sue Hayes and Cory Michael Eglash have been indicted by a United States District Court Grand Jury on one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and six counts of felony theft of government funds. More than $36,000 in social security disability benefits were received as the result of false claims by the couple.
The two San Juan Island residents own the aptly named Criminal Coffee Shop on Tucker Avenue in Friday Harbor. The case involves Social Security Benefits under the Title II Disability Program which provides benefits to support persons who are unable to work and who are in fact not working because of a disability.
The couple, who are not married, but portrayed themselves in the community as a married couple according to the federal court document, purchased the coffee shop in February 2010. They conspired to conceal their ownership of the coffee shop and their work at it so they could each collect disability benefits to which neither were entitled to.
Hayes began collecting $1,050 a month in August 2011. In February she received a payment of $20,740 for back payments.
She had claimed she hadn't worked since 2007. "I cannot work due to anxiety, depression, PTSD" and that "most days I cannot leave the house and cannot accomplish anything due to depression and anxiety."
Eglash, who described himself as her caregiver, submitted a report stating Hayes "cannot focus...paramubuate or otherwise function normally" and that I "seriously doubt that she could ...actually put gase in a car."
In late November 2011, according to the court documents, Eglash applied for disability benefits claiming he had been disabled since 2007 because of severe migraines and spasms in his neck and back which prevented him from sitting, standing, or walking for long periods of time.
On the work history report, he stated his most recent work activity was in 2003. On the funcion report: "I am almost homebound," that "I cannot walk for more than 100-200 yards," "on a good, pain free day" he could "function for up to two hours before tiring out."
According to the court documents, after Haye's application was approved, the couple re-registered Criminal Coffee as a sole-proprietorship to prevent Social Security Administration from discovering Eglash's involvement in the business.
SSA discovered Eglash was working for Criminal Coffee and realized Hayes' claim was fraudulent.