From the fall of 2006 to the fall of 2009, a restaurant owner and manager on the East Coast took in about $300,000. Most of us agree would agree that that amount is enough to live off of, even if the government takes taxes out of that sum. But the 50-year-old-man wanted more, and he defrauded the government and other disability applicants out of nearly $60,000 in Social Security disability benefits.
The man made the $300,000 working as general manager at a restaurant and through selling his stake in another restaurant. His first wrongdoing was that he never informed the IRS of his profits over the three year period. The federal government should have received almost $72,000 in taxes from his profits.
While the man was managing and operating a restaurant, he was supposedly suffering from visual impairments and glaucoma. At least that is what he told the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) on two disability benefits applications dating back to 1998. The man’s lies enabled him to collect disability benefits from the SSA on his own behalf and for his two children through a separate program granting benefits to dependent children of disabled workers. The man netted nearly $60,000 in disability benefits through this fraud.
When we see cases like this, it is apparent that probably one of the more effective ways to improve Social Security’s solvency for all of its programs is by eliminating fraud and waste. The $60,000 that the man stole outright along with the taxes that he avoided that would have gone into funding Social Security could have provided years of benefits to many disabled Americans.
Through his attorney, the man claims to expect to make full restitution, but we will have to wait and see. Even in cases where the criminals do make restitution, the additional expenses from investigating and prosecuting the criminals usually result in a net loss. Catching the criminals earlier or implementing a system that prevents these crimes from occurring in the first place is where we need to be headed.
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers