Montana Man Pleads Guilty to Aiding an Employee's Theft of Disability Benefits

Thursday, December 13, 2012
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A 61-year-old Philipsburg man has pleaded guilty to Social Security disability fraud and his former employer has acknowledged helping him.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says Layne Housel pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in Missoula to defrauding the program by being paid mostly in cash by a Hamilton butcher shop while reporting a fraction of the income in order to keep his disability payments.

Court records say Housel received benefits from 1995 until 2009 for a degenerative disc disease that prevented him from working. However, the Social Security Administration learned he was working more than the two hours per day he reported.

Howard Skaw of Hamilton pleaded guilty Tuesday to aiding and abetting the theft by initially lying to investigators about Housel's work hours.

Sentencing for both men is set for March 8.