Each week we usually post about recent criminal charges that authorities are pursuing against people who take advantage of the Social Security Disability system. With so much in the news about the forthcoming insolvency of Social Security programs, curbing fraud and illegal recipients of disability benefits are important steps towards ensuring that legitimately disabled workers get the help they need. Today we discuss the case of a man from neighboring Missouri.
The 35-year-old applied for disability benefits in November of 2001. After a relatively short four month wait, he started receiving benefits in March of 2002. The Social Security Administration awarded him benefits for his alleged suffering from anxiety-related disorders and mood disorders. In addition to benefits for himself, the man’s family – his wife and four children – received added benefits, as he was the family’s primary wage-earner.
In the fall of 2003, the man and his wife founded a plumbing company that his wife appeared to run exclusively, or at least it appeared that way on paper. The man, however, managed employees and took part in projects like installing onsite wastewater treatment systems. Fraud investigators saw him performing physical labor and operating heavy machinery.
The 35-year-old man immediately pled guilty to the charge of theft of government money. In all, he defrauded taxpayers out of nearly $150,000 in disability benefits. That $150,000 could have done a lot of good going to disabled workers truly in need of financial support during difficult times.
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa SSI lawyers