United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Sioux Falls, South Dakota, man convicted of Theft of Government Funds was sentenced on November 16, 2020, by U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier.
Robert Brannon, age 30, was sentenced to 5 years of probation, and a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $100.
Brannon was indicted by a federal grand jury on December 3, 2019. He pled guilty on August 27, 2020.
The conviction stemmed from incidents between on or about October 2015 and February 2019, when Brannon willfully and knowingly embezzled, stole, and purloined money from departments or agencies of the United States, namely, Title XVI program benefits payments made to himself and his wife, which are administered by the United States Social Security Administration (SSA).
In approximately 2009, Brannon was awarded Title XVI supplemental security income (SSI) program benefits payments benefits. He was repeatedly advised of his reporting responsibilities.
In approximately August 2014, Brannon married his wife, who also receives Title XVI SSI program benefits payments. Brannon became his wife’s representative payee and was repeatedly advised of his reporting responsibilities.
On December 15, 2015, Brannon participated in a non-medical review with a Sioux Falls SSA employee regarding both his and his wife’s SSI benefits. During this review, Brannon said that he received no additional income, other than his and his wife’s SSI benefits payments. Once the review was complete, Brannon attested under the penalty of perjury that the information he provided was true and correct to the best of his knowledge. Brannon did not tell the SSA that, in fact, he was employed and earning income.
On November 1, 2018, Brannon and his wife initiated a telephonic non-medical review with a Yankton SSA employee regarding both of their SSI benefits. They did not report any wages. Once the review was complete, they both attested under the penalty of perjury that the information they provided was true and correct to the best of their knowledge. Brannon did not tell the SSA that, in fact, he was employed and earning income.
From approximately October 2015 through February 2019, Brannon was employed by Panera Bread, Billion, Wells Fargo, and Midco. Because Brannon lied to the SSA about his income and failed to disclose his employment, it caused the SSA to mistakenly pay SSI benefits, which exceeded $1,000, to Brannon and his wife. Brannon and his wife used the funds for their own purposes.
This case was investigated by the Social Security Administration, Cooperative Disability Investigation Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann M. Hoffman prosecuted the case.