Former CSX Trans Employee Pleads Guilty to Benefits Fraud Against U.S. Railroad Retirement Board
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – On Mar. 27, 2017, George W. Myers, 59, of Telford, Tenn., pleaded guilty to an information charging him with one count of theft of public money in connection with benefits fraud he perpetrated against the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB). The fraudulently obtained benefits totaled approximately $362,741, consisting of $327,737 in annuity payments and $35,004 in health benefits.
Sentencing was set for 9:00 a.m., July 10, 2017, in U.S. District Court in Greeneville. Myers faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine, and restitution.
According to his plea agreement on file with U.S. District Court, from October 1978 until August 2000, CSX Trans employed Myers as a welder. Myers stopped work, claiming to be disabled, and completed and signed an initial application for disability in December 2000. Between December 2000 and April 2007, he received intermittent disability payments while the application was the subject of litigation. In April 2007, following numerous denials and subsequent appeals, he was finally awarded ongoing disability payments retroactive to July 2004 and Medicare coverage retroactive to January 2007. He continued to receive full annuity payments and Medicare coverage from July 2004 through September 2016.
Including the initial disability application, Myers signed forms on multiple occasions indicating that he understood that failing to report work and earnings promptly was a crime punishable by federal law and could result in criminal prosecution and/or penalty deductions from his annuity payments. Despite this, he submitted disability update reports on which he falsely represented that he had not worked for anyone or for himself and his medical condition kept him from working. In fact, in February 2006, Myers indicated that he: a) was not at all able to dress himself; b) was not at all able to perform outdoor chores; c) did not expect to work during the next 12 months; and d) had not been self-employed in the last 12 months. However, in his plea agreement, Myers admitted to working for various people and companies between August 2004 and October 2016. Some of the work included performing physically demanding contracting, repair, and maintenance work for at least two individuals who compensated him approximately $58,612 for his work.
The Railroad Retirement Board, Office of the Inspector General conducted this investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney TJ Harker represented the United States.