A Nevada, MO, pastor has pleaded guilty in federal court to fraudulently receiving more than $90,000 in Social Security disability benefits, Timothy A. Garrison, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced Monday.
Dennis Engelbrecht, 58, pleaded guilty to theft of government money.
Engelbrecht admitted that he was employed as a pastor at Pentecostal Assembly of God Church in Nevada, while receiving disability benefits over an approximately four-year period. Engelbrecht did not report his work activity to the Social Security Administration, as required.
Although Engelbrecht was paid $650 per week by the church, he received a total of $87,705 in disability payments from February 2011 to May 2015. Additionally, his son received a total of $3,220 in auxiliary benefits to which he was not entitled.
Under the terms of Monday’s plea agreement, Engelbrecht must pay restitution to the government of $90,925.
Engelbrecht has worked as a pastor since 2000. His first application for disability benefits in 2009 was denied, but a second application was approved in 2011. He did not report any current employment on either application.
Under federal statutes, Engelbrecht is subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole.
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