From 2007 to 2008, the Social Security Administration (SSA) employed a Social Security benefits authorizer who, in 1996, was found by the SSA to be incapable of performing any meaningful work.
U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett, a judge in the U.S. District Court in Baltimore, sentenced the former SSA worker, Christopher George Perry, to two years in prison and three years of supervised release in a ruling issued Thursday.
U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein is welcoming the sentence.
“Christopher Perry defrauded the Social Security Administration and Medicare by collecting disability benefits for more than a decade although he was able to work, and he continued his scheme even while he was working as a Social Security Administration employee,” Rosenstein said in a statement.
Joseph Evans, Perry’s lawyer, said Perry’s sentence has been stayed pending his appeal.
A look at the facts of the case shows that “any effort to characterize this case as an example of a clever and avaricious SSA employee cheating the system is misleading,” Evans said in a statement. “We are confident of prevailing on appeal, resulting in the reversal of his conviction.”
Perry learned in the mid-1990s that he had AIDS, according to court documents.
The SSA determined in 1996 that Perry was permanently disabled as a result of AIDS, retroactive to 1995. That determination made Perry eligible for the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, which provides benefits payments for workers with serious disabilities.
“Under SSA rules, the finding of the permanence of a disability based on AIDS can never be changed until an actual cure for AIDS is found,” Perry’s lawyers said in a document filed with the court in August 2012.
Because a social worker completed Perry’s initial disability application while Perry was suffering from AIDS wasting disease, Perry did not realize that he was supposed to report future employment income, Evans said in the statement.
“Perry received experimental medication in the spring and summer of 1996, and was able to temporarily re-gain his health,” Evans said.
Perry did receive a moderate level of pay for working in sales at department stores from the fall of 1996 until 1999, but he then re-lapsed, Evans said.