AUGUSTA, GA: A Laurens County man admitted working several years as a truck driver while claiming federal disability benefits.
Douglas Adam West, 41, of Dexter, Ga., faces a statutory sentence of up to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to Theft of Government Property, said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. The guilty requires West to pay $49,863 in restitution, and to serve a period of supervised release following any prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.
“Disability fraud is a plague on the system designed to provide a safety net for those truly unable to hold down employment,” said U.S. Attorney Estes. “Those who abuse that system for their own selfish purposes only make it more difficult for deserving recipients.”
As described in court documents and testimony, West began receiving Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits in September 2004. The Social Security Administration’s Fraud Unit initiated an investigation in August 2018, determining that West had been employed since at least 2015 as a truck driver while continuing to receive disability benefits.
“I am proud of the coordination between our two agencies that led to this guilty plea,” said Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John F. King. “We are committed to ensuring that public benefits go to those truly in need and will continue to crack down on those who abuse the system.”
West faces sentencing before U.S. District Court Judge Dudley H. Bowen after completion of a pre-sentencing investigation by U.S. Probation Services.
The case was investigated by the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General and the Office of the Georgia Commissioner of Insurance and Fire Safety, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer A. Stanley.