Rogers City Residents Arraigned on Federal Fraud Charges
Four residents of Rogers City, Michigan were arraigned today in federal court in Bay City, Michigan on charges they conspired to defraud the United States, announced United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, Barbara L. McQuade.
Ms. McQuade was joined in the announcement by Inspector General Martin Dickman of the Railroad Retirement Board - Office of Inspector General.
Charged in the indictment where Robert J. Pochmara, 61, Maxine C. Pochmars, 60, Gary L. Wilson, 57, and Sue A. Wilson, 54. All were released on bond after entering not guilty pleas to the charges in the indictment. All four defendants were charged with conspiring to defraud the United States and making or causing false information to be provided to the Social Security Administration regarding the true identity of a person earning wages. Robert Pochmara and Maxine Pochmara were also charged with defrauding the Railroad Retirement Board by concealing the fact that Robert Pochmara was working while also receiving over $218,000 in disability benefits from that federal agency.
The indictment alleges, in part, that between approximately January of 1998 and March of 2009, Robert J. Pochmara worked at an auto parts store in Rogers City, Michigan. At the same time, Robert Pochmara was receiving disability retirement benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board, an agency of the United States, and obligated to report earnings he received from work to that agency.
According to the indictment, Gary L. Wilson and Sue A. Wilson paid Robert Pochmara for his work at the auto parts store with checks made payable to Maxine C. Pochmara. Gary Wilson and Sue Wilson thereby caused the wages earned by Robert Pochmara, and the withholdings from those wages, to be reported to the Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration under Maxine C. Pochmara’s name and social security number. Some of the checks made payable to Maxine Pochmara for work performed by Robert Pochmara were cashed by using an account shared by Maxine and Robert Pochmara.
By these actions, Gary Wilson, Sue Wilson, and Maxine Pochmara enabled Robert Pochmara to conceal from the Railroad Retirement Board the earnings that Robert Pochmara obtained from working while he was receiving disability benefits. Robert Pochmara thereby kept the Railroad Retirement Board from considering whether to reduce or discontinue his disability benefits as a result of his earnings from work. In addition, Robert Pochmara, Gary Wilson, Sue Wilson, and Maxine Pochmara caused the records maintained by the Social Security Administration under Maxine Pochmara’s name and social security number to reflect wages that were not earned by Maxine Pochmara.
The maximum penalty for each offense is 5 years in custody, a fine of $250,000 or twice the gain or loss, whichever is greater, restitution, and supervised release.
An indictment is only a charge and not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board, Office of Inspector General.