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United States v. Koss

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

August 25, 2014

United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee,
v.
Charles Daniel Koss, Defendant - Appellant

Submitted June 13, 2014

Page 559

Appeal from United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri - Kansas City.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: William A. Alford III, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Daniel M. Nelson, Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Kansas City, MO.

Charles Daniel Koss, Defendant - Appellant, Pro se, Federal Correctional Institution, Forrest City, AR.

For Charles Daniel Koss, Defendant - Appellant: Linda S. Sheffield, Atlanta, GA.

Before MURPHY, COLLOTON, and KELLY, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 560

COLLOTON, Circuit Judge.

A jury convicted Charles Daniel Koss of two counts of theft of government money, one count of Social Security disability fraud, one count of passing a false financial instrument with intent to defraud, and one count of mail fraud. Koss appeals, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to prove that he had the requisite mens rea for the offenses, and that the district court[1] erred in giving two jury instructions. He also challenges the sentence imposed by the district court. We affirm.

I.

Koss applied for Social Security disability benefits in 1987 and was approved. As a recipient of benefits, Koss was required to report improvements in his medical condition and any return to work activity.

Page 561

Koss was apprised of these requirements when he first applied for disability benefits, and he later acknowledged several times his obligation to be truthful in his reports. Nonetheless, Koss failed to report work activity and earnings from Embassy Mortgage, a business that he started in 1994 or 1995, as well as work activity in other ventures.

In 2010, after the Social Security Administration (the " SSA" ) began investigating him, Koss admitted that he knew that he was required to report his work activity and had intended to do it numerous times. He explained, however, that he had decided against reporting, in part because he feared that if he lost his eligibility for benefits, he would no longer qualify for Medicare. Several witnesses at trial testified to Koss's significant role at Embassy Mortgage and said that they had been surprised to learn that he was receiving disability benefits while he worked there.

The SSA ultimately concluded that because of his work activity, Koss had ceased to qualify for benefits in 1995. The agency notified Koss in May 2010 that he ...


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