Today’s Fraud of the Day, from The Examiner.net comes to us from the “Show Me” state, where one Kansas City native was in for a rude awakening when he discovered that despite his status as a ‘sovereign citizen,’ he could still be charged for Social Security fraud by the U.S. Government. As a self-proclaimed sovereign citizen, the man subscribed to redemption theory, which vaguely states that common citizens can gain access to funds in secret accounts using obscure procedures and regulations. Sovereign citizens claim that virtually all the U.S. Government is illegitimate, and they do not recognize it. But alas, believe all they want, if they’re committing crimes, the U.S. government becomes all too real.
According to a press release by the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, the defendant was charged in a five-count indictment, consisting of two counts of theft of government money, one count of disability fraud, one count of mail fraud, and one count of passing a fictitious instrument with the intent to defraud. (Interesting…the money is legit, but the government isn’t?)
It’s alleged that the man was receiving fraudulent Social Security disability insurance payments from September 1994 to January 2010. Here’s the problem: court documents cite that he held a job as a mortgage broker and by failing to disclose his income, he defrauded the government of nearly $212,768. He allegedly also received an “economic stimulus payment” of $250 available under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act to individuals eligible for Title II Disability Insurance Benefits. Again, here’s the catch: the indictment says he was not disabled, and therefore not entitled to receive these benefits. (Funny thing about not being disabled, you’re not supposed to get disability benefits. It must be because the United States laws don’t apply to him, being a sovereign citizen and all.)
But it only gets better: when the Missouri man learned that he would have to repay the government for the stolen funds, the article says he fabricated a “Registered Private Money Order” in an attempt to draw on a fake account held by the U.S. Treasury. He then allegedly used this false negotiable instrument as payment and mailed it to the Social Security Administration.
While changing mindsets is an incredibly difficult, timely matter, finding and convicting fraudsters shouldn’t be. Individuals who go on disability for legitimate reasons should have no issue providing proof of claim. Don’t let your agency be taken advantage of: advocate for stronger protection against disability and Social Security fraud.