The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina announced on April 21 that a 64-year-old man who was recently embroiled in an election scandal has been indicted on multiple charges connected to Social Security fraud. A federal grand jury issued indictments for one count of stealing government property, one count of making false statements and two counts of Social Security fraud. The Bladen County resident faces up to 20 years in a federal correctional facility if he is convicted on all counts.
Prosecutors make their grand jury case with documents
During the grand jury proceedings, a prosecutor from the Social Security Administration’s Office of the General Counsel produced documents showing that the man received Supplemental Security Income and other benefits from the SSA in 2017 and 2018. These payments were made while the man was employed by several political campaigns according to prosecutors. He allegedly received more than $100,000 in compensation for work he performed leading up to the 2018 midterm elections. He is accused of failing to notify the SSA about his income in order to receive at least $14,000 in benefits that he was not entitled to.
The man is also facing charges of obstructing justice, conspiring to obstruct justice, soliciting perjury and possessing an absentee ballot in connection with an alleged ballot-harvesting scheme. U.S. attorneys say he paid individuals to collect absentee ballots that were then used to cast votes for candidates in the 2016 Republican primary, the 2018 Republican primary and the 2018 midterm elections. Several of the man’s alleged associates in the scheme have also been charged.
Federal charges and mandatory minimum sentences
Federal cases involving fraud and other white-collar crimes are usually settled at the negotiating table before trial. This is because U.S. attorneys are generally very thorough and most federal charges carry severe mandatory minimum sentences that judges are required to hand down. If you are the subject of a federal investigation or have been charged, you may be wise to consult a criminal defense attorney with experience in these cases. An attorney could assess the strength of the evidence against you and advocate on your behalf during plea negotiations.