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Casey and Sandy Parsons plead not guilty to fraud, other charges

parsons0731
Robert Lahser - rlahser@charlotteobserver.com
Sandy, left, and Casey Parsons leave the Federal Courthouse in Winston-Salem on Wednesday. They were arrested on a list of federal charges on Wednesday, July 28, 2014, including fraud charges based on collecting benefits for their missing daughter, Erica.

Casey and Sandy Parsons, the adoptive parents of missing Rowan County teen Erica Parsons, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to fraud and other charges, court records show.

The couple entered their pleas in federal court in Greensboro during their arraignment on charges of tax fraud, mail fraud, theft of government funds and identity theft.

A judge scheduled their jury trial for 9:30 a.m. Sept. 8 in Greensboro, records show.

FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents arrested the couple before dawn July 30 at their home in Fayetteville, where they moved in August to avoid intense media attention, public scrutiny and death threats.

The federal case against the Parsonses doesn’t address what happened to Erica, who was 13 when she disappeared. Instead, the 76-charge indictment accuses her parents of continuing to collect benefits after Erica disappeared, including monthly checks of $634 for adoption assistance.

The Parsonses also received federal and state funds for Medicaid, Social Security, and food and nutrition for Erica, who was home-schooled, had hearing problems and a learning disability, according to the indictment.

Erica was last seen in November 2011, but her disappearance was not reported until July 30, 2013. Erica's adoptive brother went to authorities after a fight with the Parsonses and said no one had seen Erica for 20 months.

The indictment also accuses Casey Parsons of using the identities of other people as dependents and using false information when preparing income tax returns.

Both Sandy Parsons, 40, and Casey Parsons, 39, are charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the government, 20 counts of theft of government funds and 20 counts of mail fraud.

Researcher Maria David contributed.

Marusak: 704-358-5067; Twitter: @jmarusak
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