The Scripture says, “You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain.” And in another place, “Those who work deserve their pay!” (1 Tim. 5:18)
Robert Brauker thought he could grind out a living as a Social Security Attorney and eat bread from Social Security Benefits at the same time. He formerly worked as an attorney for the Social Security Administration adjudicating claims while receiving disability benefits (SSI).
Attorney Brauker plead guilty to defrauding the Social Security Administration. In order to further decrease the likelihood of detection, Brauker admitted using different addresses for his employment and for the receipt of his Supplemental Security Income payments. This was evidence of malice aforethought and criminal intent. He planned his crime well, using his skills as an attorney.
According to court documents, Brauker was initially approved for disability benefits (SSI) in 1993 due to significant visual impairments. As his receipt of benefits was entirely income based, he was required to notify the Social Security Administration when he received earned income or received the benefit of gifts or other household income.
In 2003, Brauker earned income, but did not report the income to the Social Security Administration. In August 2005, he went to law school at Michigan State University, graduating in 2008.
In March 2010, he applied for employment as an Attorney-Adviser with the Social Security Administration in St. Louis. According to his application, after graduating from law school, he worked as a sole practitioner in the areas of veteran disability benefit appeals, compliance and employment issues for corporate clients, and litigation, working approximately 20 hours a week. He did not report these earnings, his additional training, or his employment to the Social Security Administration as needed for the agency to make a correct disability benefit calculation.
Brauker, 37, St. Louis, 63109, plead guilty to two felony counts of theft of government property before United States District Judge Carol E. Jackson. Sentencing has been set for January 15, 2013. Twenty years have passed since he started receiving SSI benefits.
Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000.
In determining the actual sentences, a Judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.