Man convicted in disability fraud case

An Independence man who collected Social Security disability benefits for more than 15 years even though he had a job and an active lifestyle was found guilty in federal court Monday.

Charles Daniel Koss, 63, was convicted of two counts of theft of government money, one count of Social Security disability fraud, one count of mail fraud and one count of transmitting a false negotiable instrument with the intent to defraud the government. He could be sentenced to up to 61 years in federal prison without parole.

Prosecutors said Koss received $212,768 in Social Security disability payments between 1994 and 2010 even though he worked as a full-time loan officer in a mortgage business. In order to qualify for disability benefits, a person must be unable to perform substantial work.

Prosecutors say Koss enjoyed bowling, golfing, horseshoes and boating at his lake house. He also frequented a casino where he gambled a total of $260,000.

When he was told to return the disability payments, Koss tried to pay with a false money order on a supposedly secret trust account with the U.S. Treasury. People who assert the existence of such accounts sometimes call themselves “sovereign citizens.” It is a movement the government says no merit.