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Osage Beach man gets probation on fraud charge

An Osage Beach man was placed on four years probation for pleading guilty to acting with his wife to defraud the Social Security Administration.

Garry Parker, 50, was in court Tuesday.

Parker’s wife, Tina, 40, was placed on probation for four years in this case in May and ordered to pay $9,127 in restitution.

Federal court records show, in late 2012, the Jefferson City Social Security Administration Office contacted authorities regarding a scheme that had been uncovered to defraud SSA of disability benefits.

A claims representative told agents that she had met with the Parkers on Oct. 10, 2012, regarding the purported theft of their disability checks, which had been issued on Aug. 31, 2012. The claims representative explained that based upon the Parkers’ dire need, her office had initially reissued the “stolen” checks to them without a thorough investigation of their allegations of theft.

When a noticeable pattern emerged, however, an audit was initiated. The audit led agents to believe that beginning in May 2006, Tina was having Garry endorse and cash her checks, then reporting them missing so they could be reissued and cashed again, and that Garry was similarly having Tina endorse and cash his checks, before reporting them missing and properly endorsing and cashing the checks that were reissued.

During a meeting on Oct. 10, 2012, the Parkers denied they were having someone else sign their checks.

On Dec. 12, 2012, however, agents interviewed the Parkers at their residence in Osage Beach.

In that meeting, the Parkers said they had been experiencing extremely hard times and needed extra money. They came up with the idea to claim their disability benefits checks had been stolen in order to have each check reissued.

They confirmed that, as part of this scheme, Tina had Garry endorse her checks and their children’s checks, then reported that the checks had been stolen so the checks could be reissued and properly endorsed and cashed. Similarly, Garry had Tina endorse his checks and then cashed them, reported them missing, then endorsed and cashed them again. Garry and Tina each admitted they knew what they were doing was wrong, but felt they had no other alternative.

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