Billy Jim Swann had tried to claim Social Security disability benefits in 2006, swearing under oath he was only a volunteer for a few weeks at a time at an Alaskan summer camp.
A successful Northwest fishing guide will serve a year and a day in federal prison after he was caught trying to game the Social Security system.
Billy Jim Swann was sentenced Friday in the U.S. District Court in Tacoma. In March, Swann was convicted of with perjury, wire fraud, and Social Security fraud.
According to federal prosecutors and evidence introduced at his trial, in 2006 Swann had tried to claim Social Security disability benefits, swearing under oath he was generally unable to move much, but volunteered for a few weeks at a time at an Alaskan summer camp.
Social Security denied the claim twice, but Swann persisted, according to a release from the U. S. Attorney’s Office.
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The release says he filed an appeal in the U.S. District Court, claiming he’d been disabled since 2003, but in reality Swann, 53, had been running “Swanny’s Guided Fishing,” where he made $92,503 in 2012.
Prosecutors say Swann has served as a professional representative of the fishing industry and has appeared on radio, television and as a speaker at fishing seminars. Swann guided upward of 300 fishing trips in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska per year.
“Investigators also found that, throughout this period, Swann failed to pay any state or federal taxes on his substantial income,” the release says.
The investigation into Swann initially began because he’d been seen catching endangered coho salmon online, which are protected federally by the Endangered Species Act and state law. He pleaded guilty and was gained $7,500.