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Press Release

Roanoke Man Sentenced for Stealing Disability Benefits from Railroad Retirement Board

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia
Christopher Mayo to Serve 14 Months in Federal Prison

ROANOKE, VIRGINIA – The owner of Thelma’s Chicken and Waffles, a restaurant located in downtown Roanoke, was sentenced today in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Roanoke for stealing disability benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board.

Christopher Mayo, 46, of Roanoke, previously pled guilty to one count of stealing government monies. The defendant admitted that beginning in 2007 he falsely applied for and received monthly disability annuity payments from the Railroad Retirement Board [RRB]. In all, Mayo received $228,556 in disability payments for which he was not entitled.

Today in District Court, Mayo was sentenced to 14 months of federal incarceration. He was also ordered to pay restitution to the RRB in the amount of $228,556.

An investigation into Mayo began in late 2014 after the RRB received a complaint from Norfolk Southern. The investigation revealed that after applying for disability benefits in 2007, Mayo worked to knowingly hide his employment and ownership of Thelma’s Chicken and Waffles from the RRB. When questioned by investigators in early 2015, the defendant initially stated that he was an investor in the restaurant, was waiting for a big pay day from it and did not make any money from his role in the downtown eatery. He did, later, admit to investigators that he knowingly hid his income in order to continue to receive disability benefits.

The investigation of the case was conducted by investigators with the Railroad Retirement Board- Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations.  Assistant United States Attorney Charlene R. Day prosecuted the case for the United States.

Updated August 25, 2015

Financial Fraud