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Former Macon railroad worker sentenced in disability fraud case | News

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Former Macon railroad worker sentenced in disability fraud case

A Macon man who retired as a railroad worker was sentenced to a year and a day in prison in the U.S. District Court Wednesday for disability fraud.

According to a news release, 58-year-old David Hunnicutt was also ordered to pay a little over $273,000 in restitution to the Railroad Retirement Board and ordered to serve one year on supervised release following his prison term.

Hunnicutt, the release states, worked as a brakeman for Norfolk Southern Corporation railroad in Macon from September 1979 through December 2001.

He filed for disability with the RRB August 8, 2002. He reported no self-employment on the application and at the time, Hunnicutt was told he had a responsibility to report earnings and employment to the RRB. He was also told it's against the law to make a false state in order to receive disability benefits.

He was granted disability and received payments from September 2002 and through 2013.

An investigation revealed Hunnicutt was the incorporator of Mid-Georgia Tractor Service, Inc. in 1997. According to the release, MGTS was a domestic profit corporation used for landscape design, lawn maintenance and irrigation.

Evidence also showed from 1997 through 2013 that Hunnicutt was active in the business. He listed himself as an owner, officer and agent of the business on a website, wrote checks on the business account and was paid through the business.

Hunnicutt filed a "Continuing Disability Report" with the RRB on January 16, 2012, the release states, in which he falsely stated he had no self-employment from June 1, 2002 and January 16, 2012.

"Disability payments are a great benefit those who need them, often meaning the difference between making ends meet and facing personal financial ruin," Michael Moore, the U.S. Attorney, said in a statement. "The system is geared to help those who need it, not serve as a means of additional income for those who are not truly disabled. Mr. Hunnicutt failed to be honest about his situation. These types of claims put the disability compensation program in jeopardy by draining funds to help those who need it. In the Middle District of Georgia, we will continue to use our resources to investigate and prosecute fraud with the hopes that these programs continue to be available for those who lawfully seek assistance."

Hunnicutt faced a maximum of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release and a $100 mandatory assessment fee.


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