A Little Rock man was sentenced for collecting more than $250,000 in Social Security Disability payments when he was not actually disabled. Levell Baltimore, Jr., 45, was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison by United States District Judge James M. Moody, Jr.
In 2005, Baltimore applied for Social Security benefits and claimed to be disabled. He filled out a form stating he could not work or leave his house. He cited seasonal allergies, migraines, asthma, physical limitations and fatigue as the reasons for his disability. Social Security initially denied his claim, but in further attempts to convince Social Security that he was disabled, he reported that he had not performed any substantial gainful activity in recent years. The Social Security Administration (SSA) eventually approved Baltimore’s claim, and he began receiving benefits in 2007.
Although Baltimore informed the SSA he had no income, he created and operated at least six businesses during the time he received disability benefits. Two of his businesses obtained contracts with the state of Arkansas. Though he was required to report any income to the SSA, he did not; rather, he continued telling the SSA he was unable to work.
Baltimore received fraudulent benefits from 2007 through June of 2018 totaling $284,862.25. Judge Moody sentenced Baltimore to pay that money back in restitution and also sentenced Baltimore to three years of supervised release following his term of imprisonment.
Baltimore was charged in May 2018 with one count of theft of government funds and three counts of making false statements. In December 2020, he pleaded guilty to theft of government funds in exchange for dismissal of the other counts.
“This defendant stole from a system that is designed to support those who truly need help,” Acting United States Attorney Jonathan D. Ross said. “This sentence shows that jail time awaits those whose greed and dishonesty embolden them to commit frauds such as these.”
“This sentencing sends a strong message that we are committed to protecting the Social Security disability programs and will hold accountable those who obtain benefits by fraudulent means,” said Gail S. Ennis, Inspector General of the Social Security Administration. “For over a decade, this individual willfully concealed his ability to work to collect federal benefits. I thank the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their efforts in this case.”
The case was investigated by the Social Security Administration – Office of the Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorney Erin O’Leary prosecuted the case for the United States.