An auctioneer’s job is to sell property or goods at the highest price possible. The seller receives a good return (top dollar), the buyer gets something they want (a good deal) and the auctioneer takes a cut of the proceeds for selling the item (a “win-win” situation for all). Today’s “Fraud of the Day” comes from Omaha’s WOWT News Channel 6, and profiles an auctioneer who defrauded the Social Security Administration (SSA) by taking a sizable cut of some benefits he did not deserve.
Over a period of 18 years, a 54-year-old man – who owned an auction company – received benefits valued at between $200,000 and $400,000 from the SSA (that’s a huge amount of money that didn’t get sent to the people who deserve the benefit). Not only did the fraudster receive benefits he was not entitled to, he also pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return by underreporting his income and providing false financial documents to a local bank to obtain a $225,000 loan. (It seems the auction business wasn’t providing him with a top dollar salary.)
The former auctioneer faces up to 30 years in prison, $1 million in fines and five years of supervised release. It’s pretty clear that he’ll be going straight from the auction block to the cell block, and it will be awhile before he gets another opening bid.