Man pleads guilty to theft of government funds

A Leavenworth man pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., to fraudulently collecting more than $46,000 in government benefits, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said.

Michael James Munsterman, 42, Leavenworth, Kan., pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government funds. In his plea, he admitted he received Supplemental Security Income, food stamps and Medicaid even though he did not qualify for those benefits.

In April 2011 he applied for SSI benefits claiming that he had a drug-induced heart condition that prevented him from working. He did not reveal to the government that he owned and operated a heating and cooling company and received substantial income from the business while he was receiving benefits. He also admitted that he concealed from the federal government his financial resources that far exceeded the eligibility criteria of the needs-based programs.

He fraudulently received a total of approximately $46,367 in government funds, the U.S. attorney’s office stated.

Sentencing is set for June 16. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000. Pursuant to the plea agreement, Munsterman must also pay restitution to the victim-agencies. Grissom commended the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Trey Alford for their work on the case.

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