Credentials can get you a back stage pass to a concert, access to an important interview and entry into a government computer system as today’s fraud article details. An Aurora, Illinois Social Security Administration (SSA) employee is charged with a Social Security fraud scheme after investigators determined she used deceased individuals’ identities to illegally collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in benefits she did not deserve.
Today’s person of interest is an SSA field office employee responsible for processing applications for Social Security benefits through the agency’s electronic records system. It is alleged that she used her credentials to approve benefits applications, which contained information about the deceased individuals’ spouses, who were supposedly U.S. citizens and at some point, married to the dead people she identified on the benefits applications.
The claims representative allegedly accessed the earnings records of deceased workers to fill out the bogus applications, then approved them, routing the benefit payments to bank accounts under her control. (She supposedly racked up $680,000 in benefits she did not qualify for nor deserve.) She is accused of running the Social Security fraud scheme for around five years before she was arrested in June.
It’s important to remind you that even though the 42-year-old SSA claims representative has been indicted on five counts of wire fraud and five counts of aggravated identity theft, she is presumed innocent. She is also entitled to a fair trial where the government must prove she is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. (Right now, here plea is “not guilty.”)
Each count of wire fraud can carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. That means she’s looking at a maximum of 100 years behind bars, then another 10 years for aggravated identity theft. If found guilty, the Illinois woman is facing a pretty significant amount of time in the slammer. She’s also looking at a steep bill of $680,962 in restitution. (There’s not much her credentials can help her with now. Here’s hoping she has a good lawyer.)
Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Feds: Social Security employee used dead people to steal $680,000,” published by The Washington Times on June 12, 2018.
Federal authorities arrested and charged a Social Security employee Monday with a massive fraud, accusing her of using dead people’s identities to apply for hundreds of thousands of dollars in bogus benefits she then pocketed.
Anne Aroste filed applications creating spouses for the dead people, claiming the spouses were still alive and deserving of survivor’s benefits. She then used her Social Security credential to approve them herself, routing the payments to her own bank accounts, the Justice Department said.