Kent man and former federal employee sentenced for lying on disability forms; claimed deceased mother as dependant to boost payments

A 71-year-old Kent man was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Seattle to one year of probation, a $2,000 fine and 100 hours of community service for false statements regarding federal worker’s compensation benefits.

A 71-year-old Kent man was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Seattle to one year of probation, a $2,000 fine and 100 hours of community service for false statements regarding federal worker’s compensation benefits.

Simon Yang, a former employee of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, claimed to be the sole support for his mother and claimed her as a dependant even after her death in order to boost his disability payments, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office media release.

Yang retired in 2003, after applying for disability benefits in 2002. Yang was granted disability status in 2006, and filled out multiple forms in 2007, claiming to be the sole support for his elderly mother. This claim increased his disability benefits from 66 percent of his prior salary to 75 percent of his previous salary.

Yang’s claim to be the sole support of his mother were false. She had died in 2005 in Randwick, New South Wales, Australia. In all, the Kent man unlawfully obtained an additional $47,803 in benefits. He has since paid that amount back to the government.

When confronted about his fraud in 2010, Yang first tried to claim that his mother was alive, but away from the home visiting friends on Whidbey Island.

When agents told Yang they were aware his mother was deceased, he told them to “Prove it.”

Yang pleaded guilty to the false statement charge in February.

At Yang’s sentencing, U.S. District Judge Thomas S. Zilly noted that because Yang was convicted of fraud against the disability system, he would lose all future disability payments, even for legitimate claims.

“I knew it was wrong,” Yang said to the judge. “It was a very self-destructive act.”

The case was investigated by Army Criminal Investigations Division and the Federal Employee’s Compensation Act Fraud Investigation Unit. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence Lincoln.

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