'Blind' Man Caught Driving Committed Disability Fraud

John Caltabiano said he lost his sight in an accident at a cement company in 2006 and applied for disability benefits.
7:57 | 05/14/16

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Transcript for 'Blind' Man Caught Driving Committed Disability Fraud
Disability fraud can be robbing taxpayers blind. With some cheaters claiming to be totally blind and collecting disability after a workplace accident. So when happens when they're caught on video driving, or even boating? Tonight government investigators give us an inside look at how they're caught in the act. Here's ABC's chief business and technology correspondent, Rebecca Jarvis. Reporter: John kettle beeiano appears to need a lot of help. Here he is being led to list girlfriend to his disability hearing. He claims he could not drive. He couldn't cook for himself. He said he lost his sight in a workplace accident two years earlier. I sit in the dark and listen to TV. He said in his application for benefits, I can't move around the house much, because I bump into things and hurt myself. But before you start feeling sorry for him, take a look at this video, shot just days earlier. Yep, that's the same John. It looks like he's Reading. You can see him outside a store. He appears to be Reading something here. Reporter: A miracle for someone who can't see. Disability fraud is a big problem across the united States. Last year the social security administration received 90,000 allegations to investigate. We receive allegations from a number of sources. Reporter: Michael Robinson is the assistant inspector general for the social security administration, which last year, won 1,200 convictions and a return of $225 million to you and me, the taxpayers. When it comes to making an assessment of how many are out there, we know how much has been brought to our attention. And we really rely on those fraud allegations that we receive. Reporter: So when a tip came in about John, U.S. Attorney Richard Har tunian and his counterparts at the social security administration were quick to investigate. The surveillance folks, they can be challenging work. Reporter: With videos out there like this one, there can be a lot to work with. Here's John as the blind gentleman, shifalerous in an uncanny way to might want the door held open for him instead. This is not the guy we saw getting out of his car with his former girlfriend? Absolutely not. Reporter: The investigation turns out that he did lose sight in one eye in a workplace incident, but no indication of the other being affected. Let's put it this way. Should a blind man be doing this? So here you see the defendant driving a vehicle. Reporter: And he's able to to avoid running over that woman with the shopping cart. It must be his sixth sense. He said he couldn't go out in the daylight, pay bills or read medication labels. All false. Reporter: He was on track to steal $1.3 million in benefits before he got caught. Is that common? It's common in the world of fraud that people make claims that are just not true. More than 7,000 cases are opened each year of suspected con artists trying to dupe the system. Like this guy. Surveillance on Lawrence pop. Reporter: You're watching another federal sting operation in progress. Lawrence pop has no idea he's being tailed by government agents, and they might want to exercise caution, because no matter what, you're in pop's blind spot. At least that's what the Milwaukee businessman led people to believe when he was claiming he was too blind to drive. Larry has been collecting social security disability payments for his blindness for years, all the while living the high life. Traveling the world and spending like there's no tomorrow. Lawrence pop is walking towards the social security office. Reporter: He's here today to make sure those payments keep on coming. You can't do almost anything that you used to do? No. My life's just changed dramatically. Reporter: But the tape reveals one thing Lawrence pop is very good at. Lying. Do you declare, under penalty of perjury that the information you've given me is true and correct to the best of your knowledge? Yes. Reporter: Like kalta beeiano, pop did have legitimate vision impairment in 2004 when he signed up for disability benefits. But he promised to notify the department if his medical condition improved, or if he were to get a job or generate income. Well, his eyes did get better, and he generated plenty of income. But free-loading Larry decided to keep those details to himself. There were trips to Italy, Florida, the kaymans. He even spent time driving a motor boat, towing water skiers around the lake. Larry is a person that likes money. Reporter: Oh, yes. Then there's the ex-wife, Kimberly pop, who confirms Larry lavish spending, but said the same rules did not apply to her. I was on a strict budget. Reporter: Not only could he overspend, he could overact. At times, appearing to tear up at a social security office in a truly oscar-worthy performance. This is kind of reliving it, so I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Yeah, I don't meend to do that to you. It's got to be done. Reporter: Even pop's own lawyer didn't buy his act. Is he really crying? He definitely was not telling the truth and he knew it. What do you think it was about Larry's case that tipped them off? I know what it was. You had an ex-wife who dropped the dime. Reporter: Yes, Kimberly is indirectly responsible for helping to take down the bogus man. The tipping point, when the irs came after here claiming she owed thousands in back taxes. It turned out Lawrence pop had applied for benefits not just for himself, but for the entire family, and pocketed every dime. Ultimately you were the one who turned him in? I wasn't going to take the fall for something that he was doing that was illegal. Reporter: In all, the feds say Larry fraudulently collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in government payments. In January 2014, pop's freeloading days came to an end. He was sentenced to a year in jail and had to pay back the stolen money. If he hadn't been caught red-handed, do you think he would still be bilking the system? Absolutely. Reporter: Larry was released from prison last year, and on a frigid Milwaukee morning, he gave ABC news the cold shoulder. Hi there, sir? Rebecca Jarvis, ABC news. Are you sorry for stealing that money from taxpayers? Why did you lie in the interview? Why did you lie in the interview, sir? Pop had no answers for us. And back in upstate New York, neither did John Kalt beeiano, who was sentenced to almost five years of federal mail fraud just last month. His lawyer says he is appealing his case. His girlfriend, who did not drop a dime on him, is serving three years' probation. And for any cons out there considering getting some dark glasses and a cane, Michael Robinson has a message. We're going to do everything that we can to ensure that those individuals who violate the public's trust are held accountable. Reporter: For "Nightline," I'm Rebecca Jarvis in Albany.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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