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An Ozark man has been convicted of Social Security fraud.
Michael Sylvara, 37, of Ozark, lived in Harrisonville at the time of the offense, according to a news release from the office of Teresa A. Moore, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri. The jury on March 23 convicted him on one count of Social Security fraud and one count of perjury.
During a previous trial in October 2022, Sylvara testified in his own defense, and the result was a hung jury, officials say. During that trial, he made false testimony under oath, according to the U.S. attorney’s office, resulting in the perjury charge being added in a superseding indictment in November 2022.
In the latest trial, the Kansas City jury found Sylvara guilty of directing his disabled father's Social Security benefits toward personal expenses, such as utilities, insurance, student loans and real estate agent association fees. Sylvara oversaw his father's benefits from 2016 to 2019, according to the release, and his father is now deceased.
Under federal statutes, Sylvara could be subject to up to five years in prison without parole. A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled, according to the release.
Don Ledford, spokesperson for Moore's office, confirmed Sylvara is the same person who co-owns a business in Ozark. Sylvara and business partners opened Volleyball Beach Ozark in 2021, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.
Sylvara could not be reached immediately for comment this morning.
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Actually the prosecutor needs to go to prison or have her child, brother, or husband prosecuted they way she prosecuted mine. This was a malicious prosecution plain and simple. The prosecution and judge were working together and knew that he was innocent but they wanted a win that is all. Why do you think the first trial had a hung jury? Because the prosecution changed the statutes 4 times and his attorney proofed where all the money went except for 4 dollars. Since his dad is dead all evidence with his signature and his statements including where he said his son and him had an agreement, where he told the investigator that the person who made the claim was a fraud, and how his son was not stealing any of his money. In fact he lived with his son for over a year without any Money before he even got benefits + his dad was an alcoholic, something the judge and prosecutors did not want anyone knowing? These things were thrown out which would have proven his innocence, but the prosecution did not care because they had to cover up the extremely poor investigation that was done by Don Kron the social security investigator who thought it was funny that he was eating McDonald’s cheeseburger as he was investigating the case. Plus the prosecutor had two witnesses who got caught lying so many times that they didn’t want them back on the stand the second trial. So actually I wish people wouldn’t write anything or say anything unless they know what they’re talking about. We are filing as many documents as possible to stop other people who are innocent being convicted by unlawful prosecution. So if you want to report about anything, please tell everyone about how this man is one of the most righteous and godly people and how he was maliciously prosecuted. Also about how he and his family are incredibly upset about the outcome because his entire family is behind him and knows that he did not take money from his dad. His entire family backed his story while the prosecution had to lie and make up a story that kinda fit a crazy thief/lying picture of this amazing person.