Rancher Pleads Guilty to Federal Fraud

| September 17, 2013 | 1:36 pm
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A Leeton cattle ranch owner is facing ten years in federal prison after pleading guilty Monday to theft of government money through fraudulent disability claims.

Allan Dalton, 55 waived his right to a trial and admitted to collecting social security disability payments while he worked extensively on his cattle ranch from 1999 to present, and also receiving a payment as part of the 2009 stimulus package.

Dalton is subject to up to ten years in prison without parole and payment of restitution totaling $147,320.

Press Release from the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Leeton, Mo., man has pleaded guilty in federal court to receiving nearly $150,000 in federal disability benefits while he owned and operated a cattle ranch.

Allan Dalton, 55, of Leeton, waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief District Judge Fernando J. Gaitan on Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, to a federal information that charges him with theft of government money.

According to the plea agreement, Dalton concealed his work activity from the Social Security Administration as part of a scheme to fraudulently obtain a total of $147,070 in disability payments.

Dalton applied for disability benefits in October 1999 and was determined in August 2000 to be medically disabled and unable to work due to rotator cuff injuries.

Dalton began operating his cattle ranch as early as 1999.  Based on the information SSA discovered during its investigation, by June 2004, Dalton’s work activity at the ranch was substantial and precluded him from receiving Social Security disability payments.  Between June 2004 and June 2011, Dalton took out numerous loans for his cattle operation.  For example, in October 2007, Dalton paid over $100,000 for cattle, and in March 2008, he paid over $70,000 for cattle.  Loan documents from this time period showed that Dalton owned significant assets, including livestock, land and farm equipment.  Today, Dalton admitted that he willfully failed to timely disclose his work activity at his ranch to SSA because he wanted to continue to receive Title II disability payments that he was not entitled to receive. 

In addition to the disability payments, Dalton fraudulently obtained a $250 economic stimulus payment under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  This payment was made contingent on Dalton’s eligibility to receive Social Security disability payments.  Pursuant to the plea agreement, Dalton agreed that he caused a loss to the government totaling $147,320.

Under federal statutes, Dalton is subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Trey Alford.  It was investigated by the Social Security Administration – Office of Inspector General.

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