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Family guilty of decades long disability fraud

Four members of a Renton family have pleaded guilty to fraud for pretending to be disabled and collecting more than $350,000 in Social Security and Washington state disability benefits.  The scheme to defraud the government went on for 30 years.

 In 1979,  Linda said her husband, Johnny, spent his days playing with children’s toys and wetting himself. He was actually running a used car dealership. The couple also claimed that their children, Paul and Cristina George, were developmentally disabled and required constant care.

The family pulled this off by obtaining social security numbers under phony names. They would live and work under one name and collect benefits under another. 

The children continued to practice fraud after they grew up. In one instance, Cristina George, using the name Cookie Miller, claimed to be providing daily care to an elderly relative she lived three hours away from.

The family pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Seattle. Judge Robert S. Lasnik is scheduled to sentence the four in June.

The case is one of a number of disability fraud cases filed by federal prosecutors in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Washington this year.

Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KNKX since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.