Court Sentences Omaha, Nebraska, Resident to Jail, Orders $276,878 In Restitution After U.S. Department of Labor Finds Benefits Fraud

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OMAHA, NE – After a joint investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General, the U.S. District Court of Nebraska has sentenced Craig A. Barnett – of Lincoln, Nebraska – to serve 16 months in jail, three years  probation, and ordered him to make $276,878 in restitution after Barnett pleaded guilty to obtaining money from his father’s pension checks and other benefits by materially false and fraudulent pretenses.

Investigators found that – from February 26, 2010, to August 5, 2016 – Barnett held a Power of Attorney granting him control of his father’s affairs and used it to take control of his parent’s income. In addition to pension funds, Barnett also enriched himself with proceeds from the sale of his father’s Omaha home and defrauded the Nebraska Medicaid program of $84,110 in benefits by claiming his father’s only income was from Social Security after he was moved to a nursing home in December 2014.

“Fraudulent transactions like these have a severe impact on pension plans and impact the hard-earned retirement savings of legal beneficiaries,” said Employee Benefits Security Administration Regional Director Jim Purcell, in Kansas City, Missouri.

Barnett fraudulently converted his father’s income and assets which included $113,858 from the Social Security Administration, $13,872 from the Joseph Pulitzer Pension Plan, $75,000 in grant payments from the Broadcasters Foundation of America, and payments of $65,000 from Virtus Funds, a mutual fund company.

Employers and workers can reach EBSA toll-free at 866-444-3272 for help with problems related to private sector retirement and health plans. Additional information can be found at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa.

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