Milwaukie man sentenced to prison for stealing from his disabled - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Milwaukie man sentenced to prison for stealing from his disabled cousin

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PORTLAND, OR – The former legal guardian for his cognitively disabled cousin, was sentenced to 30 months’ imprisonment for stealing more than $570,000 in annuity payments that were intended for the cousin’s care. Michael R. Braun, 68, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown on Monday for his commission of wire fraud that was ongoing for more than 22 years. Braun was also ordered to pay $573,604 restitution and serve a three-year term of supervised release.

According to court records, prior to 1984, Braun’s cognitively-disabled cousin, A.M., was residing with his parents in California. In 1984, when A.M. was 22 years-old, both of A.M.’s parents died within a few months of each other. Braun, then 37 years old, was appointed as the legal guardian of A.M., and brought A.M. to Oregon. As A.M.’s legal guardian, Braun became the recipient of the DFAS annuity payments on A.M.’s behalf, and was required to use the payments for A.M.’s care, and to notify DFAS if he was no longer A.M.’s guardian.

Shortly after bringing A.M. to Oregon in 1984, defendant placed A.M. in the Fairview Training Center, and defendant thereafter had limited contact with him. In 1990, Braun was discharged as A.M.’s guardian by the Circuit Court of Washington County; however, Braun failed to notify DFAS that he had been removed as A.M.’s legal guardian.

Between January 1990 and February 2013, Braun submitted a Certificate of Eligibility to DFAS each year certifying he was A.M.’s legal guardian, when in fact he knew he was not and knew he was not using the annuity payments for A.M.’s care. DFAS continued to deposit A.M.’s annuity payments each month into Braun’s own bank account.

Between January 1990 and December 2012, Braun received $573,604 in annuity payments which he converted to his own use.

Braun pleaded guilty to the theft in March and argued for a probationary sentence with home detention.

While imposing the sentence, Judge Brown stated that she had “not seen anything comparable” to Braun’s fraud during her years as a judge and seeing many fraudulent schemes. Judge Brown also stated that the extraordinary breach of trust warranted a prison sentence, and that a probationary sentence would not reflect the seriousness of the offense.