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Press Release

Milwaukie Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing from his Disabled Cousin

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. – The former legal guardian for his cognitively disabled cousin, pled guilty for stealing more than $570,000 in annuity payments that were intended for the cousin’s care.   Michael R. Braun, 67, pled guilty to wire fraud before U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown, and admitted committing the theft for approximately 12 years.  His sentencing hearing is scheduled for August 15, 2016.

According to court records, Braun was appointed as A.M.’s legal guardian in 1984, following the death of A.M.’s parents, when A.M. was in his 20s.  At that time, A.M. was the beneficiary of monthly annuity payments from the Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS) with payments ranging from $1,500 - $2,709 each month.  As A.M.’s legal guardian, Braun was required to use the annuity payments for A.M.’s care and to advise DFAS if he was no longer A.M.’s legal guardian.

In 1990, Braun was discharged as A.M.’s guardian by the Circuit Court of Washington County; however, Braun failed to notify DFAS that he had been removed as A.M.’s legal guardian.  Between January 1990 and February 2013, Braun submitted a Certificate of Eligibility to DFAS each year certifying he was A.M.’s legal guardian, when in fact he knew he was not and knew he was not using the annuity payments for A.M.’s care.  Additionally, in 1998, Braun directed DFAS to deposit A.M.’s annuity payments into Braun’s bank account.  As a result of Braun’s repeated false statements and concealments, DFAS continued to deposit A.M.’s annuity payments each month into Braun’s own bank account.

Between January 1990 and December 2012, Braun received $573,604 in annuity payments which he converted to his own use.

The case was investigated by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.  The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Helen Cooper as part of a partnership venture between the Seattle Region, SSA Office of the General Counsel and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland, Oregon.

See the attached indictment below for additional information.

Updated March 24, 2016

Financial Fraud