former state lawmaker indicted
for social security fraud
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – David M. Ketchmark, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a former state legislator from Sugar Creek, Mo., was indicted by a federal grand jury today for receiving Social Security disability payments while serving in the Missouri Legislature.
Raymond E. Salva, 65, of Sugar Creek, was charged in a five-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo.
“An elected official who is entrusted to make the law must also follow the law,” Ketchmark said. “This kind of deceit and illegal double-dipping from the public coffers is nothing less than theft. Today’s indictment alleges that, while purportedly serving the public, he was actually stealing from the taxpayers and betraying the trust of the voters.”
Salva began working as a Missouri state representative in January 2003 and held that office through December 2010. While he was earning $30,000 a year for his work in the legislature, Salva allegedly received a total of approximately $60,000 in disability payments to which he was not entitled.
Today’s indictment charges Salva with theft of government money for receiving disability payments that he was not entitled to receive because he intentionally failed to report and concealed his earnings and work activity as a state legislator. The indictment also charges Salva with one count each of Social Security disability fraud (failing to disclose material events), Social Security disability fraud (making false statements), making false statements to federal agents and mail fraud.
According to the indictment, the Social Security Administration approved Salva’s application for disability insurance benefits in February 2000. Salva claimed he was disabled and unable to work due to a neck injury sustained in a farm accident. In May 2003, the Social Security Administration conducted a continuing disability review in order to determine whether Salva remained eligible to receive disability payments. As part of that review, the indictment says, Salva completed a form in which he affirmed that he was not able to return to work and that he had not done any work since being disabled.
Today’s indictment alleges that this was completely false because Salva was working as a Missouri state representative.
On March 16, 2008, the Social Security Administration sent Salva a letter notifying him of the overpayment he accrued from January 2004 through February 2008. The letter stated that Salva received benefit payments that he was not due. The Social Security Administration sent Salva a billing statement for $58,917 on Sept. 4, 2008.
Salva appealed the overpayment decision and testified before an Administrative Law Judge at two administrative hearings. Today’s indictment alleges that a number of Salva’s statements during those hearings were knowingly false. On April 11, 2011, the Administrative Law Judge issued a decision finding Salva at fault in causing the overpayment.
According to the indictment, Salva completed a new application for disability benefits on Jan. 3, 2011. He withdrew this application on Feb. 20, 2011.
Ketchmark cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys Trey Alford and Kate Hoey. It was investigated by the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations.