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New Jersey man pleads guilty to stealing disability benefits

A New Jersey man could spend time behind bars for stealing almost $90,000 in Social Security Disability benefits, and for using another person's Social Security number to collect workers' compensation benefits and to gain employment.

According to court documents, the 55-year-old man in question received Social Security disability benefits between August 1999 and July 2011. However, he earned a six-figure salary during that same time period by working three different jobs. He was able to so by using his brother's Social Security number to obtain a driver's license that he then used to gain employment under his brother's name.

In addition to the Social Security disability benefits, he also began receiving workers' compensation benefits under his brother's name after he suffered an injury on the job.

The man in question recently pleaded guilty on Jan. 17 to theft of government funds and misrepresentation of a Social Security number. The charges carry a combined maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. As part of the man's plea bargain, he is required to pay more than $117,652 in restitution to Social Security and AmGuard Insurance Co.

The man will be sentenced in late April.

Social Security disability benefits are hugely valuable for those who actually need them. Those who are totally disabled and unable to work rely on them to live a normal life.

However, as written about in a previous post, more people have begun receiving disability benefits, and the system is in danger of being drained in just five years.

The crimes the man committed in this story are egregious not only because he broke the law, but because he was taking money that could have gone towards people who are truly in need of help.

Source: The Trentonian, "Man admits stealing $90K in SSI benefits, brother's identity for worker's comp," Jan. 17, 2012

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