Disability Scammer Forgets Scam, Goes on TV: Tax Officials

Never, never, never appear on television working if you're supposed to be unable to work.

By Olsen Ebright
|  Friday, Nov 20, 2009  |  Updated 12:00 PM PDT
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Disability Scammer Forgets Scam, Goes on TV: Tax Officials

AP

Televised home improvement leads to felony charges.

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Among all the interior designers out there faking disabilities, there's one common mantra: Don't go on television in the middle of the scam.

It appears Ronald Hunt, a 56-year-old Los Angeles resident, forgot his mantra, according to tax officials.

Hunt continued working as an interior designer from 2003 to 2006 while claiming disability, according to the California Franchise Tax Board. He earned $400,500 from designing and $147,600 in disability benefits, according to the FTB.

In the end, it was a TV appearance that brought the double-dipping to a halt, according to the FTB:

According to court documents, Ronald E. Hunt, 56, continued working as an interior designer from 2003 to 2006 including an appearance on an HGTV home improvement show during the time he claim to be disabled. An employee with the private insurance company paying Hunt's disability saw the show and alerted the California Department of Insurance (CDI).

The Sunland man pleaded guilty to one felony count of state income tax fraud and one felony count of insurance fraud, according to the FTB. He was sentenced to 200 hours of community service, 60 months of probation and forced to pay $151,700 restitution to the private insurance company and $31,000 to FTB.
 

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