Have you ever done something you’ve regretted and found yourself hoping for some forgiveness? Today’s Fraud of the Day from the BrynMawr-GladwynePatch reveals how one Pennsylvania resident might be seeking forgiveness if the fraud allegations made against him are true.

The article reports that a Pennsylvania native has been charged with “Social Security fraud, theft of government funds and 56 counts of mail fraud—one for each disability check that arrived at his home ….”  The indictment indicates that the man claimed he was unable to work due to an injury on the job, but an investigation revealed a different story.  Records show that the man in question allegedly collected nearly $91,000 in benefits for himself and his son over a four-year period, while holding down a job.  (If the allegations are true, would it make it better if he “did it for his family?”)

But if he claimed to be injured, where was he able to work?  Court documents indicate that the man worked for a local church, neglecting to report income to the government.   (If true, that can’t be good karma.)  It is alleged that he collected $67,332 for himself and $23,592 for his dependent child.  Regulations require that disability recipients report any income made, but authorities say he failed to mention the income.

As if lying wasn’t worry enough, the maximum charges he is facing seem a bit hefty.  The court explained that he is facing a substantial term of imprisonment (Ok, I’m good with this), three years of supervised release (Good), a fine of up to $14.75 million (Wow, now I am a fan of punishment, but a fine of over $14 million for theft of not even $100k? Even I feel that’s a bit too harsh!), a $5,900 special assessment and restitution of $90,920.80.

Of course, it is important to remember that the defendant has only been charged with these offenses.  He has a right to his day in court and is presumed innocent.  Even so, the potential penalties in this case certainly send a message to fraudsters and society at large – steal from the government, and you’ll be begging for forgiveness.

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