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Two former DSS workers sentenced

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Former Grayson County social workers get prison time

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ABINGDON — A former senior social worker for the Grayson County Department of Social Services who oversaw Adult Protective Services was sentenced Monday on federal fraud charges arising from the theft of money from two elderly clients.

A former companion care provider hired to work with her was also sentenced on charges stemming from misuse of a debit card and theft from a bank account belonging to a patient the defendant was hired to care for.

Jennifer Edward Hall, 36, and Bernard Dale Satterfield, 47 — both of Galax — were indicted in July 2010. Last October, Hall pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud and one count of access device fraud and one count of bank fraud. Satterfield pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud and one count of access device fraud.

Monday morning in U.S. District Court in Abingdon, Hall was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $34,401 in restitution to the victims. 

Satterfield was sentenced to 16 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $26,008 in restitution to the victims.

“Mr. Satterfield and Ms. Hall stole money from an elderly woman who trusted them with her life savings,” U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said in a press release Monday. “Ms. Hall was a government worker entrusted with caring for the vulnerable victim in this case. Rather than protecting that elderly victim, Ms. Hall enlisted Mr. Satterfield as her partner in a criminal scheme to loot the victim of her hard earned money. 

“When people prey upon our most vulnerable citizens in pursuit of their own greed, law enforcement will respond vigorously and pursue full restitution for victims.”

Hall and Satterfield have admitted to victimizing an 88-year-old person suffering from dementia. The pair wrote checks out of the victim’s account, withdrew money from her bank account and used that money for personal needs, according to court records.

Hall also admitted to fraudulently negotiating a series of checks as a means of obtaining funds from an 81-year-old victim. She has admitted to taking this action without consent and for the purpose of using the funds for personal needs.

In the criminal complaint on file with the federal court, U.S. Secret Service Agent Greg Watson wrote that, when confronted about the missing money, Satterfield told him that the victim liked to keep her money in a “lock box.”

Watson said Satterfield told him that he had taken the victim to the bank to withdraw $7,500 and the cash was placed in the box.

When Satterfield opened the box for Watson, it only contained $1,000.

Satterfield told the agent that his “boss” at social services — Hall — borrowed some of the money, according to the court documents. Watson said Satterfield could not account for the rest of the cash.

In all, a total of $34,853 was stolen from both victims, according to federal prosecutors.

According to court documents, Satterfield allegedly spent the money at restaurants in Virginia and North Carolina and paid for personal expenses.

Hall faced a maximum penalty of of 30 years incarceration and/or a fine of up to $1 million for the bank fraud count.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the U.S. Secret Service and the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Bockhorst prosecuted the case.