Fraud and Dismemberment: A Roundup of Social Security-Related Crime

Fraud and Dismemberment: A Roundup of Social Security-Related Crime

“We will continue to identify and aggressively pursue any instances of employee fraud and hold wrongdoers to account. These efforts are critical to maintaining the public’s trust in Social Security," says the Social Security Administration's inspector general.

 

Crime and fraud related to Social Security funds are pretty frequent crimes, but it’s not so frequent for them to entail dismemberment.

A Nevada woman is accused of dismembering the body of her husband, throwing the body parts in the trash, and continuing to collect his Social Security benefits for more than four years, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

 

The sixty-nine-year-old woman is also charged with theft of government money. She was caught, per the report, after authorities received a tip that her husband was missing. She claimed that he was on a “walk-about,” but later admitted that he had been dead for several years.

She is accused of collecting more than $120,000 in benefits. The newspaper also reported that investigators found it unusual that the man, who was in his seventies, had no record of receiving medical attention after 2015.

The woman is not accused of having killed her husband, only of disposing of his body, and it’s not clear how he died.

In another, much less grisly case of alleged Social Security fraud, a man in the Boston area has been arrested for “fraudulently receiving Social Security disability benefits.”

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, the sixty-seven-year-old man has been charged with one count of theft of public funds. The man is accused of improperly collecting 38,601 in Social Security disability benefits over a four-year period between 2013 and 2017. He faces over ten years in prison.

Meanwhile, it was announced earlier this month that a Social Security Administration (SSA) operations supervisor was sentenced to over five years for wire fraud and identity theft. She had pled guilty to the charges two years earlier.

The woman, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina, “caused over $760,000 in SSI (Supplemental Security Income) benefits to be electronically deposited into nine different bank accounts held in her name, and in the names of various family members, by making false and fraudulent representations to fellow SSA employees, including claims representatives and other supervisors.”

“We will continue to identify and aggressively pursue any instances of employee fraud and hold wrongdoers to account. These efforts are critical to maintaining the public’s trust in Social Security. I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office for its support of our investigation and efforts to bring it to a successful resolution,” Gail S. Ennis, Inspector General for the Social Security Administration, said of the North Carolina case.

In the Charlotte case, the woman has also been forced to surrender her Harley Davidson motorcycle, the Charlotte News and Observer reported. It was purchased with the ill-gotten funds.

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.

Image: Reuters