Former Syracuse Federal Employee Stole More Than $100K in SSI Benefits, FBI Says – Community News
Social Security

Former Syracuse Federal Employee Stole More Than $100K in SSI Benefits, FBI Says

Syracuse, NY — A 34-year-old Syracuse man and former federal employee admitted Thursday to stealing more than $100,000 in additional security benefits, according to federal prosecutors.

Sean Okrzesik pleaded guilty to theft of government property and aggravated theft, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York.

While Okrzesik was employed by the Syracuse office of the Social Security Administration, he opened bank accounts with the names and Social Security numbers of people receiving SSI benefits, according to federal prosecutors.

SSI benefits are federally provided benefits given to people who are over age 65 or have a qualifying disability and are funded by taxes.

From February 2020 to February 2021, he then diverted payments from their accounts to the accounts he created, prosecutors said.

Okrzesik used the money to pay for video game equipment, a tailored suit, jewelry, airline tickets to the Caribbean and online gambling, prosecutors said.

In total, Okrzesik received $103,798.77 in benefits, prosecutors said.

He faces up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and a term of up to 3 years of supervised release for the two counts of government property theft, according to federal prosecutors.

On the charge of theft with aggravated identity, he faces a mandatory two-year prison term, which must run consecutively to the sentence imposed on the two counts of theft of government property, prosecutors said.

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