In one of the largest of a recent spate of indictments involving fraud related to Social Security, the Federal Government Monday announced that it had indicted eleven individuals for their part in what it’s calling Social Security Administration (SSA) benefits fraud scheme, affecting a total dollar amount of over $1.3 million.
The indictments were announced by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, which said that it grew out of an investigation by the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General, which was seeking to “locate and collect SSA benefits payments that were disbursed to individuals later determined to be deceased.”
As part of the operation, the cases of the eleven people indicted were determined to have cost SSA $1.3 million, although the agency’s “debt collection and reclamation authority” had allowed it to recover an additional $1,195,333 in nine other cases that did not result in indictments.
The eleven cases did not appear to be related to one another. All face ten years of imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, or both, according to the U.S. Attorney’s press release.
In other Social Security fraud news…
Woman pleads guilty to fraud in Montana
A fifty-six-year-old Montana woman has pled guilty to giving false statements, and according to the Justice Department press release, the statements entailed “lying about her living arrangements and assets in order to receive more Social Security Administration (SSA) benefits and other federal aid than she was entitled to receive.”
The woman faces five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release. In addition to her guilty plea, other charges will be dismissed, including health care fraud, theft of government money, and Social Security fraud, pending approval by the courts.
The woman had been indicated a month earlier.
Per the Justice Department, the case involved the woman, in 2006, applying for Social Security Income (SSI) and received it, beginning in 2008. She said at first that her husband was living with her, and had her benefits calculated to reflect that, but she later reported that her husband had left the household, allowing her to receive higher benefits with his income no longer in consideration. She received this amount, in addition to other government benefits, through 2020. However, her husband later applied for benefits, alleging that he and his wife had been living together continuously since 2000.
The woman, when questioned, had said that her husband did not live in the home, but “later admitted he stayed there about 50 percent of the time.” In total, she received an overpayment of over $100,000 from Social Security, over $23,000 from SNAP, and $18,203 from Medicaid.
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, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The 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.