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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Minnesota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 22, 2011

Grove City Man Sentenced For Stealing More Than $86,000 In Social Security Benefits

MINNEAPOLIS – Yesterday in federal court in St. Paul, a 66-year-old man from the central
Minnesota community of Grove City was sentenced for fraudulently acquiring more than
$86,000 in social security disability benefits. United States District Court Judge Donovan W.
Frank sentenced Ralph Egmund Harald Frisch to 25 months in prison on one count of
concealment from the Social Security Administration (“SSA”). In addition, he was ordered to
pay $77,980.40 in restitution. Frisch was indicted on February 24, 2011, and pleaded guilty on
March 17, 2011.

In his plea agreement, Frisch admitted that on September 30, 2002, when applying for
disability benefits, he failed to disclose to the SSA his true physical condition and capabilities,
his employment, and his ability to engage in work. His claim was initially denied, but he
requested a hearing. At the January 28, 2004, hearing, Frisch testified that he was disabled due to
an ankle injury. Frisch said he needed a cane to walk on even surfaces and a walker to walk on
uneven surfaces. Based on that testimony, on May 18, 2004, an administrative law judge found
him disabled, and he began receiving approximately $1,400 per month in benefits.

Shortly thereafter, investigators obtained evidence that between May and September of
2004, Frisch had done painting and roofing jobs. Then, in October of 2004, an investigator
observed Frisch roofing a house in Minneapolis. Over a period of several days, the investigator
observed Frisch going up and down a ladder, using an electric saw and pitchfork, and installing
new shingles. At no time was he seen using a cane or a walker. Nor did he display any sign of
injury. The SSA–Office of Inspector General (“SSA-OIG”) interviewed Frisch on February 1,
2008. During that interview, Frisch disclosed that he had worked for a temp service from 2004
through 2006, doing a variety of jobs, including shoveling snow, making pizzas, and setting up
tables. He also reportedly said he did roofing work, although not on a regular basis. Frisch’s
benefits were terminated on October 17, 2008.

This case was the result of an investigation by the SSA-OIG. It was prosecuted by Assistant
U.S. Attorney Kevin S. Ueland.

 

 

Updated April 30, 2015