The Utah Office of the Attorney General saved the Social Security Administration an estimated $22 million in prevented fraud in 2012 by exposing residents who had been collecting disability benefits under false pretenses, according to KSL-5 TV.
And by “false pretenses” we mean they lied about being disabled.
Even more outrageous than allegedly conning the SSA is the fact that most of the fraudsters were busted by the AG's office after they were caught on tape behaving like, well, people in normal physical condition.
"One of the most shocking things is the audacity of some of the people who are stealing from you and I," Ken Wallentine, the chief of law enforcement for the Utah Office of the Attorney General, told KSL-5 TV.
For instance, the AG’s office uncovered a video of one recipient, a 40-year-old man who claims his “sore muscles” keep him from work, jumping around his living room while playing air guitar.
Another video shows a 31-year-old female recipients banging away at the drums. She has been collecting benefits for “four years because she claimed her mental disorders gave her low energy, therefore she couldn't be in public to work,” KSL-5 TV notes.
Too tired to work, but not too tired to play. In a rock band. Got it:
"In the past year, investigators with the Utah AG's office and the Social Security Administration have looked into 368 allegations of fraud. Of those claims, the SSA denied 157 of them," the report notes.
"They feel entitled to it," Wallentine said, "and when we ask them why do you feel entitled like you're entitled to $2500, $2700 per month for a fraudulent, fake disability, they say 'well, other people do it. Why not me? Other people get away with it. Why not me?' "
Wallentine claims the AG’s investigation saved taxpayers roughly $21 million.
"For every dollar it costs us to put an agent out in the field investigating these types of allegations, we bring back well over $10 more," he said. "This is government at its best, protecting the interests of taxpayers."
Here’s the full YouTube video of the alleged SSA con artists:
Here’s the video’s cast of characters (in order of appearance):
- A 40-year-old man had been collecting disability benefits for nearly 18 years because he said he was badly impaired by depression, anxiety, asthma, obesity and sore muscles he was unable to leave his house. His benefits ended after he posted videos showing him rocking out to heavy metal music, swinging on a swing set and riding a scooter.
- A 37-year-old claimed he was no longer able to work because of a broken heel bone, partially immobile ankle, chronic pain, arthritis and depression. Investigators watched him drive a truck, walk while carrying a baby seat and then run away when they attempted to interview him. His truck and t-shirt indicated he had a business for buying antlers.
- A 31-year-old woman had been getting benefits for four years because she said her mental disorders gave her low energy and it was too traumatic to be in public. Her benefits were cut after investigators found newspaper articles about her being "constantly involved in music projects," YouTube videos of her performances, Facebook posts about the venues she was playing and investigators witnessed her perform at a concert for several hundred people.
- A 50-year-old woman was collecting benefits because she said her fibromyalgia, PTSD, degenerative disease, acid reflux, anxiety, stroke and restless leg syndrome made it difficult for her to walk and unable to work. Surveillance videos show her walking sometimes with a cane but many times she was seen walking normally without assistance. She was also seen climbing up to wash the top of her SUV and even told investigators she just went riding on her ATV the previous weekend.
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Featured image screen grab. This post has been updated.