Dwayne E. Dietz Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings on August 5, 2009, before Senior U.S. District Judge Jack D. Shanstrom, DWAYNE E. DIETZ, a 66-year-old resident of Billings, pled guilty to Social Security Administration (SSA) disability payment fraud. Sentencing is set for October 4, 2009. He is currently released on special conditions.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
DIETZ has a handicap related to his vision and began receiving Social Security Administration disability benefits in 1992.
In the late 1990s, DIETZ was investigated for disability payment fraud. Investigators learned that, while DIETZ was receiving payments for a complete disability because he could not work, DIETZ was working. At the time, DIETZ was traveling the country as a consultant for cattle breeders and buyers.
As a result, DIETZ received a substantial overpayment from the Social Security Administration. He eventually pled guilty, and, in June of 2000, was sentenced to a term of probation.
DIETZ then reapplied for SSA disability in 2000, and in 2001, was awarded the same type of benefits he had received previously. The benefits were paid retroactive to the date of his last work in 1999.
As part of the re-application process, DIETZ signed forms indicating that he understood his obligation to notify SSA if he went back to work in any capacity.
By July or August 2005, DIETZ was working again, this time for Western Livestock Reporter (WLR). DIETZ was earning a commission selling advertising. Several employees would have testified that DIETZ was in fact working at the WLR.
Employment records would have shown that both DIETZ and a J.D. Dietz were working at WLR. J.D. Dietz was DIETZ'S wife, who worked full-time at Carpet One. None of the employees at WLR recalled her working there.
Under an arrangement with the owner of WLR, DIETZ received approximately $1,500 per quarter from WLR under his own Social Security number. He also received the balance of his commission-based salary under his wife's Social Security number. These separate amounts totaled approximately $8,000 per quarter.
DIETZ, his wife, and the owner of WLF have all admitted the foregoing scheme.
Between 2006 and 2007, DIETZ received approximately $16,000 in SSA disability payments that he was not eligible to receive.
DIETZ faces possible penalties of 5 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.
The investigation was conducted by the Social Security Administration - Office of Inspector General.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.