From the U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Ohio:
A North Royalton man was charged with theft of government funds and wire fraud.
Louis C. Cooper, 57, fraudulently collected benefits from Social Security and Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation while concealing his employment as a general contractor. Cooper had been entitled to disability payments from a work-related injury in 1996. However, Cooper was required to report to both agencies whether he returned to work, which would terminate his ability to receive continued payments from both agencies, according of the criminal information.
Cooper developed a scheme where he could conceal his income as general contractor by asking his clients to not pay him directly. For the past eight years, Cooper earned at least $185,000 as a general contractor, but reported to both agencies numerous times that he was too injured to work in order to fraudulently secure an additional $245,000 total from both agencies, according to the information.
Special Agents Kelly Clark from the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General and Mike George from the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, Special Investigations Department, conducted the investigation. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Payum Doroodian is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, the Court will determine the defendant’s sentence after a review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense, and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum. In most cases, it will be less than the maximum.
An information is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.