When you find a social security or disability claim denied, it’s important to work closely with an attorney to challenge the denial and push it through. It’s also, however, vital to choose an attorney that has a good reputation and a long legacy of successful litigation. It’s unfortunate, but fraud is a very real problem in Social Security, which is exactly why so many cases are denied the first time out.
In one specific case, an attorney has recently pled guilty of a massive fraud case. This can serve as a warning to those in need of representation, to carefully research and vet the attorneys they choose to use, and to those considering a fraudulent social security claim. Let’s learn about this recent fraud case, and where you can go to get representation when you’re in need of a disability or Social Security attorney.
Social Security Fraud Case
Recently in Lexington, KY, former attorney Eric Conn, pled guilty in Federal Court to charges related to fraudulent Social Security claims to the tune of $550 million. Conn had previously been sentenced to serve twelve years for the case, but he escaped to Honduras, where he was then re-arrested. He now faces an extra 15 years.
Conn pled guilty in 2017 to defrauding the administration through the falsification of evidence in hundreds of cases. This was done through backdoor payments to a medical professional, who then signed off on claims, and through bribing a judge. The plea came with a deal, which prosecutors have now taken off the table due to his flight.
There are actually four other people who have pled guilty in this case, which has brought serious vulnerabilities to light in the system. It has also served to highlight the penalties for defrauding the SSA to any who may be considering this as a path to “easy money.”
The Problem of Fraud
Social Security fraud is a real problem, which costs the administration hundreds of millions of dollars. This money is intended to help people who genuinely need it, and those who would seek a path to easy money are nothing short of thieves. They also make it much harder for those in genuine need to get a claim through.
The penalties for social security disability fraud can involve up to $250,000 per count with prison times of up to 5 years per charge. Those convicted of fraud can also be required to pay back every penny of the funds they’ve acquired. These are also felony charges. Fraud can involve falsifying medical conditions, falsifying material facts, hiding critical information or even falsifying wages.
What to Do if You Suspect Fraud
If you suspect fraud, it’s important first to be sure your facts are correct and you have the necessary information about the situation of the person. They may actually have an invisible illness which entitles them to SSDI. Fraud is a very serious crime and reporting an innocent person can create a lot of difficulties from which they may never recover.
If you do believe someone has committed fraud, you can visit the SSA website, where there are a number of different ways to file a report. You can do so anonymously, but they may request the ability to contact you.
Challenging a Denial
If you’ve had a legitimate social security claim denied, there are channels you can go through. The SSA does have an appeals process, and it doesn’t have to be the end of the road. However, you’ll need to have the right help and guidance to avoid critical errors and push your challenge through.
Never simply file a new claim. Instead, find a solid social security attorney to help you gather the evidence you need and present your case to the SSA. If your claim has been denied, it means you’ll need to prove that you need the benefits and are entitled to them under the law.
Finding the Right Social Security Attorney
It’s important that you choose the right social security attorney to help you with your case. Never go with an attorney who promises that you’ll get benefits before consulting on your case. Never go with an attorney who appears to have medical professionals that will simply sign off on your paperwork. If things seem too fast or easy, it’s a red flag.
Above all, go with an attorney who has a reputation for straight dealing and success. Dr. Bill LaTour is a licensed clinical psychologist and an attorney focused exclusively on SSDI and SSI cases. If you need help with your claim, give us a call for a consultation today.