Cedar Rapids standup comic pleads guilty to benefits fraud


A Cedar Rapids standup comedian known as “Bustin Dustin” is now “Busted Dustin” after pleading guilty to bilking Social Security out of over $120,000 in disability benefits when he was healthy enough to work.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports that 49-year-old Dustin Ruzicka pleaded guilty last week in US District Court to one count of insurance benefits fraud.

According to the complaint, Ruzicka started getting benefits in 1992 for foot inflammation and something called “adjustment disorder.” He started his standup act in 2004 and started to work for a weight-loss product company, getting sales commissions starting in 2010. An investigation of his tax records showed him as a national director with the company, earning over $164,000 over a roughly eight-year period. During that same period, Ruzicka got disability benefits for himself and his children totaling nearly $124,000.

Social Security Administration officials got a report about Ruzicka’s actions, and agents observed him at a 2016 standup gig in Cedar Rapids, setting up his own stage, laying down sound equipment wires and climbing a ladder, never having to sit down for a disability issue. During his performance, agents said he was on his feet the entire time and didn’t appear to be in pain, despite information on his benefit forms claiming that he had daily pain in his legs.

The Gazette says that Ruzicka will be sentenced after a pre-sentencing report is completed. He faces up to five years in federal prison, a fine and up to three years of supervised release after he serves his time.