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Man sentenced for theft of Social Security benefits

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BRUNSWICK, Ga. – A 64-year-old Brunswick man was sentenced this week to five months in prison and five months' house arrest, to repay $82,864 in stolen proceeds, and to forfeit an additional $75,000 after earlier pleading guilty to stealing just over $82,000 in Social Security and Medicare benefits.

According to evidence presented at the guilty plea and sentencing hearings, Jerry Barnett was deemed unable to work and approved to receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration in 2005. Barnett returned to work in May 2007, however, and concealed his employment income from SSA by accepting payment in his spouse's name.

When offered an opportunity to correct his status in March 2013, Barnett falsely denied he had any employment income and certified that he remained unable to work. From May 2007 until October 2013, Barnett wrongfully collected $75,161 in disability payments and $7,703.18 in Medicare benefits.

In addition to restitution, the court ordered Barnett to forfeit another $75,000 to the U.S. government.