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Examiner
  • Former Sugar Creek state legislator pleads guilty to Social Security fraud

  • Former state legislator Ray Salva, a Democrat from Sugar Creek, pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to Social Security fraud charges.

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  • Former state legislator Ray Salva, a Democrat from Sugar Creek, pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to Social Security fraud charges.
    Salva, 65, admitted receiving nearly $60,000 in federal disability payments while also getting paid for his work as a member of the state House of Representatives. He admitted that he failed to notify the federal government of his employment as a legislator and that he fraudulently received Social Security disability payments. Salva served as a representative from January 2003 until January 2011, earning an annual salary of more than $30,000.
    Under the terms of a plea agreement, Salva was ordered to pay back the $58,816 he received from the Social Security Administration. He faces a possible sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole and a fine of up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled at a later date after the United States Probation Office completes a pre-sentence investigation.
    Salva claimed he was disabled and unable to work because of a neck injury he sustained in a farm accident. His application for disability insurance benefits was approved in February 2000. As part of a review of his disability in 2003, Salva completed a form in which he confirmed that he was not able to work and had not done any work since being disabled.
    The Social Security Administration approved the continuation of his benefits and told him to report any work activity regardless of earnings.
    The SSA discovered that Salva had some earnings on his record and sent him a letter asking about his work activity. He told the SSA in a letter that he spoke with an SSA representative, who told him that public service would not affect his disability payments. Salva admitted Wednesday that he lied about speaking with a representative and made a false statement.
    The SSA sent him a bill for overpayment on Sept. 4, 2008. Salva appealed the overpayment and testified before an administrative law judge at two hearings. Salva admitted Wednesday that many of the statements he made in those hearings were false, including a claim that he did not receive disability payments in some months. The judge issued a decision on April 11, 2011, finding Salva at fault for the overpayment.

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