James L. Santelle, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced today that Lawrence J. Popp pleaded guilty to two felony offenses in connection with his fraudulent receipt of social security disability benefits and his participation in a welfare benefit plan (under Section 419 of the Internal Revenue Code) with the intention of evading the payment of income taxes. This matter was investigated by agents of the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General (“SSA-OIG”) and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (“IRS-CI”).
In making this announcement, Santelle commented: “The programmatic and fiscal integrity of the Social Security Administration’s programs is compromised significantly—to the detriment of legitimate beneficiaries—when individuals engage in purposeful fraud of this and other types. The knowing misapplication of welfare benefit plans, pursued to evade the payment of income taxes, aggravates the abuse and has a quantifiable impact upon all Americans.” Santelle added: “This prosecution, premised upon a balanced, focused, and highly professional investigation by special agents of the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service, is illustrative of the kind of effective federal law enforcement work known well in Eastern Wisconsin and throughout the nation.”
“Business owners who misuse welfare benefit plans by running their compensation through layers of complicated trusts and insurance policies will be vigorously investigated by federal law enforcement,” said Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation office in Milwaukee. Agent Jackson added: “We encourage anyone with information about these types of schemes to come forward and speak with federal authorities.”
United States District Judge Rudolph T. Randa, who presided over the plea hearing, has scheduled the sentencing of the defendant for October 29, 2013.