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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hermantown Man Indicted For Stealing Social Security Benefits

MINNEAPOLIS—Earlier today in federal court, a 51-year-old Hermantown man was
indicted for stealing more than $144,000 in Social Security benefits. James William Smith was
charged with one count of theft of government funds and three counts of making a false
statement for use in determining eligibility for Social Security benefits.

The indictment alleges that from January 1, 2007, through August of 2010, Smith stole for
his personal use $144,293.40 in benefits from the Social Security Administration (“SSA”). In
addition, the indictment alleges that from March 16, 2006, through August of 2010, Smith
failed to disclose to the SSA his true physical condition, employment status, or ability to engage
in work.

According to the indictment, Smith, instead, falsely represented that he suffered from Early
Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. In November of 2009, he allegedly misrepresented his physical
condition during a medical examination at the Mayo Clinic in an effort to receive a disability
determination from clinic physicians. The indictment also alleges that on July 21, 2010, Smith
misrepresented his physical and mental condition to a psychologist in order to continue
receiving disability payments.

If convicted, Smith faces a potential maximum penalty of ten years in prison for theft of
government funds and five years for each count of making a false statement. All sentences will
be determined by a federal district court judge.

This case is the result of an investigation by the SSA-Office of Inspector General, the
Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Hermantown Police Department. It is being prosecuted
by Assistant United States Attorney Clifford B. Wardlaw.

An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that there is probable cause to believe that offenses have been committed by a defendant. A defendant, of course, is presumed innocent until he or she pleads guilty or is proven guilty at trial.

 

 

Updated April 30, 2015