A 34-year-old former Social Security Administration employee has been sentenced to twenty-five months in federal jail on charges of aggravated identity theft and theft of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
The man who worked in the Syracuse office of the Social Security Administration is charged to steal names and CPR numbers of SSI recipients to steal their benefits, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York.
The man admitted that over a period of years between February 2020 and February 2021, he “opened bank accounts using the names and CPR numbers of various SSI recipients or their representative payees,” later redirecting benefit payments intended to payees to the accounts he controlled . He is accused of stealing $ 103,798.77 from the accounts.
The government says the man used that money to pay for personal expenses while also buying video game systems, airline tickets and participating in online gambling.
The man “stole from Supplementary Security Income Funds while working for the Social Security Administration,” U.S. Attorney Carla B. Freedman said in a statement from the Department of Justice. “Hard-working Americans contributed to these funds to support their fellow citizens who need help. The punishment imposed today represents a measure of justice for this breach of faith and serves as a message to those who might consider similar thefts that they will be held fully responsible for their crimes. ”
In addition to the prison sentence, the man received a three-year suspended sentence and was sentenced to pay repayment of the equivalent of the stolen money.
Another case in Texas
In other news about social security fraud, a 60-year-old Mexican citizen has been sentenced to forty-five months in prison in Texas for stealing social benefits.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the western district of Texas, the man began claiming Social Security benefits in 2006 and Medicaid benefits beginning in 2012, erroneously claiming to be a U.S. citizen. The man, who received $ 247,477.68 from the scheme, pleaded guilty in a single case of theft of public money and was sentenced to pay that amount in damages.
“We are pleased with the outcome of this case and thank our law enforcement partners for their diligence in investigating this case and bringing it to a successful conclusion,” U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff said in a statement. “This office is determined to investigate and prosecute the crimes that people are trying to steal from limited resources that go to support the most vulnerable in our communities.”
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and splice today . Co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.