Swanny (Goes Up The) River in Disability Fraud Case

Q: Can I go to prison for lying about being disabled?

Because applying for Social Security disability benefits is a complicated process and up to two-thirds of initial applications are denied, many people choose to hire a skilled disability benefits attorney to handle the process. Doing so may not only improve the chances of an initial application or a subsequent appeal being successful, but it can also help keep the applicant out of serious legal trouble.

Fisherman have a reputation for spinning tall tales about the one that got away, but one man apparently got caught downplaying his physical abilities in an effort to try to obtain Social Security disability benefits. And now he’s in hot water.

The man, Swann, filed an application for disability benefits claiming a workplace accident left him so disabled and restricted that it “interfered with his ability to stand, sit or walk, and that he had difficulty carrying on a conversation because of his in ability to concentrate”. When his initial application was denied, he reportedly told an appeal judge that he was only a “temporary volunteer” at an Alaskan summer fishing camp.

After that level of appeal was denied, he continued, but allegedly never disclosed that all along he was operating the profitable “Swanny’s Guided Fishing, a year-round guide service and led as many as 300 excursions a year” throughout several northeast states for which he reportedly earned over $92,000 in 2012. He also allegedly made radio, television, and seminar speaking appearances as a professional fishing industry representative and reportedly did not pay income taxes.

While Social Security fraud and perjury are punishable by up to five years in prison, he was reportedly sentenced to serve “a year and a day” in federal prison.

Attempting to apply or appeal a denial of Social Security disability benefits can tempt even honest suffering people to unwittingly exaggerate the extent of their disabilities in attempting to qualify. Don’t risk making a bad situation worse. Contact an expert.

If you need assistance applying for disability benefits or appealing a denial of benefits, the disability attorneys of Arizona at Roethke Law can help you. Contact us today for a free consultation.

With offices in Tucson, Phoenix, and Tempe, we represent residents throughout Arizona in their quest to obtain federal disability benefits.