Thursday, January 19, 2006

College Professor and Published Author Is Convicted of Fraud

I enjoy reading about cheaters who get caught. This article appeared in the most recent edition of Eye on OIG.
Based on an anonymous tip to the SSA Fraud Hotline, agents from our Indianapolis Office began an investigation of a woman who had been receiving disability benefits since 1985 for rheumatoid arthritis. Investigation revealed that the beneficiary was a university professor and published author under various pseudonyms, who used her husband's SSN to conceal her work earnings from SSA.

In July 2003, SSA initiated a Disability Review, and the woman denied she had been employed or earned any income while receiving SSA benefits. In November 2003, a search warrant was executed at the woman's residence, and forensic analysis of her computer later confirmed her career as a professor. Additionally, items seized revealed that she had been paid by major book and magazine publishers under her husband's SSN. Ironically, she published several books under various pseudonyms that provided tips on how to benefit financially from government loopholes.

SSA determined that the income she earned using her husband's SSN made her ineligible to receive SSA benefits from January 1999 to February 2004. In July 2005, the beneficiary pled guilty to one count of Corrupt Business Influence and was sentenced to 545 days of home detention, 6 years' probation, 40 hours of community service, and was ordered to pay restitution to SSA of $77,180.

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