Macon Businessman Convicted of Stealing Disability Benefits

Macon Businessman Convicted of Stealing Disability Benefits

MACON, Ga. – A Macon resident who collected monthly disability benefits while running a successful cleaning company – which he never disclosed to the government – was convicted by a jury this morning on federal charges for theft and making false claims.

Demetris Hill, 54, of Macon, was convicted of one count of theft of government property and one count of false claims against the government for which he faces a total maximum prison term of 15 years in addition to a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release per count. U.S. District Judge Tilman E. “Tripp” Self III presided over the trial which began on Oct. 17. Sentencing for the defendant will occur on Jan. 10, 2023.

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Hill applied for and was approved for disability benefits from the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) in May 2012. Hill agreed during the application process to immediately report any work, earnings or changes in his disability status to the RRB. RRB then repeatedly reminded Hill of his reporting obligations by sending him six annual notifications during 2014 – 2019. Each of those reminders counseled Hill that he had a responsibility to report any work to RRB, whether or not Hill made any money from working and regardless of what type of work Hill performed. Sometime in 2013, after he had been receiving disability benefits for approximately one year, Hill helped open a cleaning company, styling himself as an executive and partner of the company, and as its resident agent. Over the years, Hill’s involvement in the business grew to include money and client management, along with other day-to-day operations. As the business became more financially successful, Hill continued to collect full disability benefits from RRB that he was not entitled to, due to his work and financial earnings. These benefits amounted to well over $100,000.  

The case was investigated by the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board Office of Inspector General.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joy Odom and Elizabeth Howard are prosecuting the case.

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