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Appleton man sentenced in Social Security fraud case

File photo of gavel. (WLUK/Scott Hurley)
File photo of gavel. (WLUK/Scott Hurley)
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(WLUK) -- An Appleton man was sentenced for defrauding social security of more than $73,500.

John P. Fischer, 63, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) Fraud.

According to prosecutors, Fischer fraudulently received more than $73,500 in federal and state SSI benefits between 2009 to 2017 by knowingly concealing numerous resources from the Social Security Administration.

SSI is a nationwide welfare program for the blind, disabled, and those over 65 years of age who have little to no income and no more than $2,000 in resources. SSI is funded by general tax revenues, unlike SSA pensions and SSDI that are funded by payroll taxes.

Prosecutors say Fischer filed for SSI claiming that he met all criteria, but in fact, he had bank accounts, investment accounts, and vehicles that put him well above the $2,000 limit. Among them was a Roth IRA worth more than $42,000 that Fischer knowingly concealed from the SSA and secretly cashed out. Fischer also paid over $48,000 for two GMC Acadia SUVs without notifying the SSA that he had the money or the vehicles. In addition, Fischer’s scheme involved concealing his accounts and vehicles under the guise of two different “churches,” which were simply a front to hide his assets.

"SSI benefits are designed to help those in true need,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Frohling. “Individuals who lie about their own circumstances to wrongfully obtain such benefits harm every taxpayer and hurt those in need by undermining the integrity of these vital programs.”

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The U.S. Attorney’s Office has initiated an action to seize and auction two of Fischer’s vehicles, including a fully restored 1957 Chevy Bel Air that Fischer concealed from the SSA.

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