Tennessee resident sentenced to 56 months

Date: 
Friday, July 24, 2020
Office Affiliation: 

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

Indianapolis – United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced today, George Ruth, 64, Morristown, Tennessee, was sentenced to 56 months in federal prison for defrauding the United States Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, and the Social Security Administration.

“Mr. Ruth has tried making a career of getting something for nothing,” said Minkler. “He was not that good at it and this sentence should put an end to it. Don’t steal from the government and the programs in place to help those in need and expect law abiding citizens to carry your responsibility.

Beginning January 2010, and continuing until in or around November 2017, Ruth and his co-conspirators, Norman Flick, Kenneth Burton, and Carlos Aubrey, conspired to file earnings statements with the Social Security Administration that reported false earnings, false employment, and other false items, to obtain money, in the form of fraudulent Social Security benefits.

Ruth and others sought to enrich themselves by submitting false and fictitious IRS Forms purportedly from Lehman Brothers and other bankrupt companies, to the SSA. The IRS Forms contained false and fraudulent earnings and employment information that would increase their monthly Social Security benefits and result in lump sum “back pay” payments to themselves and others.

In total, Ruth unlawfully obtained or attempted to obtain approximately $1,083,180 in Social Security benefits to which he was not entitled.

Beginning January 2011, and continuing until in or around October 2017, Ruth and his co-conspirators also conspired to prepare and submit to the IRS false and fraudulent federal income tax returns so they could unlawfully obtain federal income tax refunds.

They continued to enrich themselves by preparing and submitting to the IRS false and fraudulent U.S. individual income tax returns to unlawfully obtain federal income tax refunds to which they were not titled. In total, Ruth and the others unlawfully obtained or attempted to obtain approximately $3,707,585.98 in federal income tax refunds to which they were not entitled.

Co-conspirators, Kenneth Burton and Carlos Aubrey were previously sentenced. Norman Flick is deceased.

This case was investigated by the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General and IRS Criminal Investigation.

“The stiff sentence announced today is a demonstration of our tireless commitment to hold individuals accountable who seek to defraud SSA by submitting false documentation for unlawful financial gain,” said Gail S. Ennis, Inspector General of Social Security. “I am pleased to see the final chapter today of this far-reaching conspiracy, which was designed to steal more than $1 million from the taxpayers. I appreciate the U.S. Attorney’s support of our investigation, and I want to recognize IRS Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for their efforts to see justice done in this case.”

“Mr. Ruth has been prosecuted previously and has not learned his lesson,” said Kathy Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Chicago Field Office. “This prosecution of Mr. Ruth shows the American taxpayers that IRS-CI, the United States Attorney’s Office, and our federal counterparts are working hard to protect taxpayer funds. We will continue to investigate and prosecute these offenders, especially when they don’t get the message the first time.”

According to Assistant United States Attorney Jeffery D. Preston, who prosecuted this case for the government, Ruth must also serve three years of supervised release, pay $1,083,160 to the Social Security Administration and $95,132 to the Internal Revenue Service.

In October 2017, United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced a Strategic Plan designed to shape and strengthen the District’s response to its most significant public safety challenges. This prosecution sentencing demonstrates the office’s firm commitment to partner with federal and local law enforcement agencies to prosecute complex and large-scale fraud schemes and those engaged in income tax evasion; filing false tax returns and schemes to defraud involving tax returns. See United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Indiana Strategic Plan Sections 5.1, 5.4)