NOW:53129:USA00949
http://widgets.journalinteractive.com/cache/JIResponseCacher.ashx?duration=5&url=http%3A%2F%2Fdata.wp.myweather.net%2FeWxII%2F%3Fdata%3D*USA00949
33°
H 36° L 19°
Cloudy | 5MPH

Greendale man, declared blind, accused of defrauding government

Dec. 23, 2012

Doctors declared Lawrence Popp legally blind in 2004, helping pave the way for the Greendale man to collect $3,200 in Social Security disability payments every month.

Popp, the owner of a distributing company, claimed his income dropped to $9,400 a year from $87,000 once he went blind. The payments were meant to help support Popp, his wife and their two young children.

As it turns out, Popp is not blind, according to a federal investigator with the Social Security Administration. He's been operating several businesses and making hundreds of thousands of dollars, spending on lavish items such as a $25,000 diamond and emerald necklace for his wife, a recently released affidavit for a search warrant states.

Federal agents caught him on video in 2008 driving to a meeting at the Social Security office in Greenfield. He parked his car several blocks away and walked to the office.

During the meeting he "stated repeatedly, and eventually signed a sworn statement, denying he has ever driven since becoming 'blind,' " according to the warrant that was issued in 2009 but unsealed only last month. Popp was federally indicted in March, also under seal. Court documents also indicate he also drove a snowmobile.

A trial is set for Popp, 57, in April.

Popp's attorney, Raymond Dall'Osto, said the case may be resolved short of trial. He said he is limited about what he can say because the case is pending and because of health care privacy laws.

However, he added, "The initial determination of disability (for Popp) was appropriate and he is still disabled and more so," Dall'Osto said.

The federal prosecutor in the case declined to comment.

According to the indictment, Popp illicitly collected $175,000 in disability payments as well as $115,000 in Medicare benefits between 2004 and 2009. In addition he reportedly evaded taxes totaling about $178,000.

Investigators say Popp was laundering money from one of his companies, Refrigerated Equipment Distributors Co., through a "sister" business, Commercial Sales Agency.

In a wiretapped phone conversation in 2009 with his then-ex-wife, Kimberly Popp, Lawrence Popp said he sold his distributing company for $700,000 and did not disclose the proceeds to the Social Security Administration. He also said he paid $2,000 a month for a membership to the Milwaukee Athletic Club.

Kimberly Popp told investigators the couple vacationed regularly in the Cayman Islands and Lawrence Popp had opened a bank account there. That's where he bought her the diamond necklace, she said. The couple divorced in 2007.

Popp signed paperwork in 2004 when he applied for disability benefits, agreeing to notify the department if his medical condition improved or if he were to get a job or generate income from self- employment.

"The facts gathered thus far in the investigation show that the income Lawrence J. Popp reported to the Internal Revenue Service on his federal income tax returns . . . cannot support his lifestyle, his increase in net worth, or his accumulation of assets," the investigating agent, Michael Clemens, wrote in the affidavit. "The facts also show that Popp is falsely claiming that he is blind and underreporting his earned income in order to collect Social Security disability benefits."

This site uses Facebook comments to make it easier for you to contribute. If you see a comment you would like to flag for spam or abuse, click the "x" in the upper right of it. By posting, you agree to our Terms of Use.

Suburban News Roundup

E-mail Newsletter

Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.


Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter
Get the Newsletter!

Login or Register to manage all your newsletter preferences.

Community Watch

» Oak Creek girls handle Franklin to take two-game lead in Southeast 1/30

» Yetka's late lay-up rallies Oak Creek boys to victory over Franklin, 41-39 1/30

» Free women's self-dense seminar in March 1/30

» Oak Creek man who killed wife of 55 years sentenced to 8 years in prison 1/30

» Franklin High Senior Mara Matovich to represent Wisconsin in U.S. Senate Youth Program 1/29

» Answers and winners of the Suburban Selfies contest revealed! 1/29

» Oak Creek's Meijer will open in August 1/29

» Drexel Town Square's Emerald Row apartments lauded for 'urban and pedestrian feel' 1/28

» Oak Creek High School may add boys volleyball, girls golf 1/28

» Greendale High School to host regional FBLA leadership conference 1/28

» Cudahy Sportsmen's Club to hire consultant for cleanup plan 1/27

» OCFSD school board member resigns 1/27

» Franklin police investigate home invasion of 83-year-old woman's Oakwood Road residence 1/27

» DNR orders cleanup of debris from shooting range on Lake Michigan 1/26

» Robert Sweetgall, the 'real Forrest Gump,' to lead two public sessions in Greendale 1/26

» With Mia Famiglia in Hales Corners closed, the chef prepares for a restaurant in downtown Waukesha 1/26

» Owners are reportedly closing Mia Famiglia in Hales Corners to a open new restaurant in Waukesha 1/23

» Chick-fil-A seeks Oak Creek's Drexel Town Square for new restaurant 1/22

» Azura Memory Care seeks to build 13th Wisconsin location in Oak Creek 1/20

» Alyson Dudek of Hales Corners will compete on "The Amazing Race" with boyfriend 1/20

» Forum evaluates six Greendale School Board candidates entering primary election 1/15

» Suburban Selfies contest extended through Jan. 25; two selfie solutions to get you started! 1/15

» Assisted living developers pursue Oak Creek neighborhood for facility 1/13

» With no buyer, YMCA to close South Shore facility in Cudahy Updated:  1/13

» Franklin horse farm sold to developer 1/13

View All Posts Got a tip? Welcome rss

Advertisement

Advertisement

Local Business Directory

CONNECT