KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that an Archie, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to stealing government funds by working full time while he received more than $109,000 in Social Security disability payments.
Michael Burt, 39, of Archie, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner to the theft of government money.
According to today’s plea agreement, Burt was approved to receive Social Security disability payments in December 2002 due to back disorders. Burt was deemed to be medically disabled and unable to work at a substantial gainful activity level as a result of his disability.
In July 2004, however, Burt began working full time for Two Bit Training in Overland Park, Kan., which provides horse riding lessons, hunter/jumper training and horse show assistance to its patrons. Between July 2004 and sometime in 2007, Burt worked at a substantial gainful activity level at Two Bit Training doing all sorts of manual labor, including cleaning stalls and looking after the horses. He failed to report his work activity to the Social Security Administration because he knew his work activity would impact his eligibility to receive disability payments. In fact, Burt concealed his work activity by falsely telling the Social Security Administration that he was not working.
Burt also had two minor children who were eligible to receive Social Security auxiliary benefits contingent on his eligibility to receive payments. Due to the fact that Burt was not eligible to receive disability payments, his minor children were also not eligible to receive the auxiliary payments they received. Burt also received a one-time $250 economic stimulus payment under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that he was not entitled to receive.
As a result of Burt’s intentional concealment of his work activity as part of a scheme to fraudulently obtain Social Security disability payments, the total fraud loss incurred by Burt’s theft is $109,142. Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, Burt must make full restitution to the Social Security Administration.
Under federal statutes, Burt is subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000 and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Trey Alford. It was investigated by the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations.