Social Security Fraud is Real – Be Up Front and Honest
We often hear about the fraud in the Social Security system, and many in Jacksonville wonder how such fraud can happen when it’s so difficult to be approved for benefits in this area. However, there were two fraud stories that jumped out at us recently, reminding us of the importance of being honest.
The first story was about a gentleman, Daniel Fitzsimmons, who began to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments in 2002 for allegedly being disabled and unable to work. Fitzsimmons – and his dependents (which could include his children or wife) – received an estimated $144,415 in SSDI benefits from 2003 through 2013.
During those years, Fitzsimmons was required to certify that he could no longer perform “substantial gainful activity,” and needed to continue to receive his benefits. However, a Social Security investigation found that he was actively (and consistently) engaged in commercial fishing during that time period.
As a result of his fraud, he was sentenced to four months in prison followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay the $144,415 back to the Social Security Administration.
The second story was about a lady who was committing fraud to obtain Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, which are paid to those who are disabled and do not have enough credits to qualify for SSDI.
Amy Holmes was receiving SSI benefits and that from February 2004 through May 2016, she told Social Security that she was living along and did not receive help or money from any person.
Through court records, it was determined that she was living with her husband who was (1) providing financial assistance to her and (2) paying the rent/mortgage to keep a roof over her head. She told investigators that she knew she would have been ineligible for SSI if she told them the truth.
She faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
These stories remind us of the importance of truthfulness. While lying may get you ahead in the short term, in the long term, it may catch up to you. When it comes to receiving benefits, it is important to tell Social Security the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. If your benefits are wrongfully terminated or you’re denied, please give us a call. Our lawyers take pride in helping those who are disabled and seeking benefits navigate their way through the tough disability system.