In May 2012, the Office of the Inspector General for the Social Security Administration reported the sentencing of a Pueblo, Colorado man to 21 months in prison for fraudulently obtaining Social Security Disability Insurance payments.
On January 24, 2012, U.S. District Court Judge Lewis T. Babcock sentenced Mike Louis Torres (also known as Miguel Angel Torres), 52, for bilking the government out of thousands of dollars in SSI disability payments. Through the terms of a plea agreement, Torres was ordered to pay $42,430.50 in restitution to the Social Security Administration. In addition, Judge Babcock ordered Torres to serve three additional years of supervised release immediately following his federal prison sentence.
According to court documents, Torres claimed to be fully disabled and unable to “engage in any substantial gainful activities.” In 1995 he began to receive SSA disability benefits.
Torres fooled SSA disability officials by taking his deceased brother’s name and Social Security number. He then used this information to get two Colorado identification cards. He used these cards to work from 2004 to 2006 at one place of employment and from 2007 through 2008 at another.
He used his own identity to work at another place of employment from 2001 to 2004 and in 2007 and 2008. From 2008 through 2010, he continued to work for yet another employer. All the while, Torres was failing to tell the Social Security disability program about his work activity and concealed the dollar amounts he earned.
In all, prosecutor Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Michele Kelley proved that Torres had received $50,800 in SSA disability benefits, which he was not entitled to receive.
Fraud is a persistent issue in disability law. Unscrupulous people are tempted to collect benefits they are not due. The disability benefits attorneys here at Keefe Disability Law hope that convictions of criminal who defraud the system will deter others who might be tempted to commit fraud.