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Northfield man pleads guilty to fraudulently obtaining disability benefits

New Hampshire Union Leader - 11/13/2018

Nov. 13--CONCORD -- A Northfield man has pleaded guilty in federal court to making false statements to obtain Social Security disability insurance benefits, according to prosecutors.

Robert Gallagher Sr., 50, will be sentenced Feb. 21, according to U.S. Attorney Scott W. Murray on Monday.

Gallagher managed and worked as a mechanic while also applying for benefits, prosecutors said.

In May 2012, Gallagher applied for disability insurance benefits and falsely claimed that he had been unable to work since Jan. 1, 2011, according to prosecutors.

To receive disability insurance benefits, an individual must have a medical disability that prevents the claimant from performing "substantial gainful activity"--that is, work activity that is the type ordinarily done for pay or profit.

Social Security advised Gallagher that he was required to report whether he was working, regardless of his income, and that if he provided Social Security with "false information on purpose, [his] benefits will be stopped."

Gallagher was managing and working when he applied for benefits, concealing his work activity from Social Security. Gallagher began receiving Social Security disability insurance benefits in October 2013, prosecutors said.

In December 2016, during an in-person work activity review, Gallagher again told Social Security that he had not been working.

In 2017, during an audit of Department of Motor Vehicle inspections by State Police, Gallagher told the inspector that he worked approximately 47 hours per week as both a mechanic and state vehicle inspector.

Gallagher subsequently admitted to an investigator from the Office of the Inspector General, that he had worked since 2008 and that he lied to Social Security when he claimed that he was not working, according to prosecutors.

As a result, Gallagher received Social Security disability insurance benefits that he was not entitled to receive from October 2013 through March 2017, according to prosecutors.

"Those who use fraudulent means to obtain benefits are committing a serious federal crime," Murray said. "We work closely with federal agencies to ensure that federal benefits only go to those who truly deserve them."

Prosecutors didn't say how much money Gallagher fraudulently obtained.

mcousineau@unionleader.com

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(c)2018 The New Hampshire Union Leader (Manchester, N.H.)

Visit The New Hampshire Union Leader (Manchester, N.H.) at www.unionleader.com

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