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Texas Grave Digger Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison for Social Security Disability Fraud

December 16, 2014

Office Affiliation: The Office of Investigations

From the U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas:

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - Guatemozin Garcia, 60, of Alice, has been ordered to 18 months in prison following his conviction of fraudulently receiving Social Security disability benefits, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Garcia pleaded guilty Aug. 28, 2014, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jason B. Libby.

Today, U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo handed Garcia a prison sentence and further ordered him to pay $148,043 in restitution. Garcia will also be required to serve a term of three years of supervised release following completion of the prison term.

Garcia began receiving benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) after reporting he was unable to work as a result of back disorders. However, the investigation revealed that numerous individuals had regularly paid Garcia to prepare gravesites for funeral services during the time of his alleged disability. Specifically, Garcia would physically dig graves using a tractor and shovel, set up and take down tents, chairs and artificial grass used during the services. He would also perform other tasks as directed. Law enforcement later witnessed Garcia performing the described tasks.

At the time of his guilty plea, Garcia admitted he concealed all of his work activity from January 2008 until October 2013. As a result of the fraud, Garcia and his dependents received $148,043.70, in Social Security Retirement Survivors Disability Insurance Program benefits to which they were not entitled.

Social Security disability benefits are paid from the Disability Trust Fund to disabled persons who meet eligibility requirements. Other persons, such as the beneficiary’s spouse and minor children, may also be entitled to SSA benefits because of the disability of a wage-earner. The amount paid, on a monthly basis, is dependent on the wage-earner’s previously paid taxes, whether the wage earner is alive or deceased and whether Part B Medicare premiums are withheld.

Previously released on bond, Garcia was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The case was investigated by SSA - Office of the Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert D. Thorpe Jr. is prosecuting.

From the U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas:

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - Guatemozin Garcia, 60, of Alice, has been ordered to 18 months in prison following his conviction of fraudulently receiving Social Security disability benefits, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Garcia pleaded guilty Aug. 28, 2014, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jason B. Libby.

Today, U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo handed Garcia a prison sentence and further ordered him to pay $148,043 in restitution. Garcia will also be required to serve a term of three years of supervised release following completion of the prison term.

Garcia began receiving benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) after reporting he was unable to work as a result of back disorders. However, the investigation revealed that numerous individuals had regularly paid Garcia to prepare gravesites for funeral services during the time of his alleged disability. Specifically, Garcia would physically dig graves using a tractor and shovel, set up and take down tents, chairs and artificial grass used during the services. He would also perform other tasks as directed. Law enforcement later witnessed Garcia performing the described tasks.

At the time of his guilty plea, Garcia admitted he concealed all of his work activity from January 2008 until October 2013. As a result of the fraud, Garcia and his dependents received $148,043.70, in Social Security Retirement Survivors Disability Insurance Program benefits to which they were not entitled.

Social Security disability benefits are paid from the Disability Trust Fund to disabled persons who meet eligibility requirements. Other persons, such as the beneficiary’s spouse and minor children, may also be entitled to SSA benefits because of the disability of a wage-earner. The amount paid, on a monthly basis, is dependent on the wage-earner’s previously paid taxes, whether the wage earner is alive or deceased and whether Part B Medicare premiums are withheld.

Previously released on bond, Garcia was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The case was investigated by SSA - Office of the Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert D. Thorpe Jr. is prosecuting.

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