Woman Hides True Identity to Collect Benefits
Our Office of Investigations received an allegation from the
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of the Inspector General
(OIG) in Chicago that a woman was receiving Social Security benefits
under two identities. Our investigation revealed that the woman
was a Title II retirement beneficiary, but had used a second name
and Social Security number (SSN) to collect Supplemental Security
Income (SSI) and additional HUD benefits. As a result of concealing
her dual identities, she was overpaid $69,337 in retirement benefits,
$12,451 in SSI benefits, and $10,122 in HUD benefits.
In July 2008, the woman pled guilty to theft of Government funds.
She was sentenced to 3 years' probation and ordered to pay restitution
of $81,788 to SSA and $10,122 to HUD.
Man Sentenced to 56 Months in Prison for Identity Theft Scheme
"Operation Guarantee Fraud" was an 18-month investigation
conducted by the OIG's Seattle Field Division, together with the
FBI, United States Probation, and several State and local law
enforcement agencies. This joint investigation determined that
a man had used fraudulent driver's licenses, obtained birth dates
and SSNs of victims, and taken over victims' bank accounts. He
used this information to run up thousands of dollars in purchases
and then defaulted on the debt.
The man pled guilty to conspiracy to commit identity theft and
aggravated identity theft, and was sentenced in July 2008 to 56
months in prison and 5 years of supervised release. He was also
ordered to pay $153,633 in restitution to local merchants and
Convicted Sex Offender Steals Identity
An investigation by our Charleston, West Virginia office revealed
that a convicted sex offender, who had previously been arrested
and placed on probation for failing to register as a sex offender,
had stolen another person's identity. In a joint investigation
with the U.S. Marshals Service in Huntington, West Virginia, we
discovered that the man had moved from Ohio to West Virginia after
his arrest in 2007 for failing to register as a sex offender.
In West Virginia, he began using another person's name and SSN
for identity and employment purposes, in part to avoid having
to register as a sex offender under his true identity.
Based on our investigation, the man was charged with misuse of
a Social Security number and failing to register as a sex offender,
pled guilty to the latter charge in July 2008, and was sentenced
to 18 months' incarceration and 3 years of supervised release.
Woman Conceals Marriage to Receive SSA Widows Benefits
This investigation was based on a referral from the Port St.
Lucie SSA office. We determined that a woman had concealed her
marriage to her second husband in order to collect Title II survivors
benefits based on her first husband's Social Security record.
The woman's first husband had passed away in 1988, and she remarried
in 1991. Our investigation further revealed that in 2002, the
woman had made several false statements in her application for
benefits on the record of her first husband.
The woman pled guilty to making false statements to SSA, and
was sentenced in July 2008 to 6 months' home confinement and 1
year of probation. She was also ordered to pay restitution of
$35,834 to SSA.
Monetary Penalty Highlights
SSA is authorized under Section 1129 of the Social Security Act
to impose civil monetary penalties (CMP) for each false statement
made in applying for or continuing to receive SSA benefits, or for
neglecting to report to SSA changes that affect benefit eligibility.
SSA has delegated this CMP authority to OIG, which can impose up
to $5,000 for each false statement or omission, as well as assessments
in lieu of damages of up to twice the benefit overpayment. For Fiscal
Year 2008 (through July 31), Office of Counsel (OCIG) attorneys
have imposed $5.8 million in penalties and assessments under the
OIG's CMP program.
Man Acting as Representative Payee for Daughters Defrauds SSA
OCIG initiated a CMP against a man acting as the representative
payee for his two daughters, based on an investigation by agents
in our Dallas office showing that the man had made six false statements
regarding his daughters' living arrangements. While he claimed
his daughters were living with him and he was spending their benefits
on their care and support, we determined that they had not lived
with him since 1998, and that he had used their benefits to cover
his personal expenses. The man's false statements resulted in
a fraud loss of $43,170.
OCIG ultimately imposed a total penalty of $63,170, which included
a $20,000 CMP and an assessment in lieu of damages of $43,170.
Man Uses Son's SSN to Work While Also Collecting Disability
OCIG initiated a CMP against a man who had been receiving SSI
since 1995. An OIG investigation had revealed that in 1998, the
man fraudulently took a drug test for his son, who had applied
for employment with Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company. The father not
only passed the drug test, but accepted the job in place of his
son, working under his son's SSN while also collecting disability
benefits under his own SSN.
From 1998 through 2006, the man received approximately $48,000
for which he was not eligible. OCIG attorneys negotiated a settlement
in which the man agreed to pay a penalty of $20,000 plus an assessment
of $45,000 for a total of $65,000.
Woman Receives a Penalty of $7,500 for Cashing Multiple Benefit
In July 2008, OCIG imposed a CMP on a woman with a lengthy history
of double-check negotiations (DCN). A DCN occurs when a beneficiary
claims non-receipt of a benefit check, receives a replacement
check from a local SSA office, and then cashes both the original
and the replacement checks for what amounts to a double monthly
payment. The woman had committed DCNs on six different occasions,
which resulted in a fraud loss of $2,943.
In the most recent instance, the woman came into an SSA office
in March 2008 and alleged that she did not receive her March check,
requesting an immediate payment. The U.S. Treasury Department
checked its records to ensure that the original check had not
already been cashed, and then SSA issued a replacement check.
However, our investigation revealed that the woman had knowingly
withheld her original check because she knew the replacement check
would not have been issued had she first cashed the original.
OCIG ultimately imposed a $7,500 penalty, and SSA will withhold
part of the woman's monthly benefit check until the outstanding
penalty is paid in full.
Inspector General Patrick P. O'Carroll, Jr. recently announced
several personnel changes:
- The Senior Executive appointment of Jonathan L. Lasher as
Counsel to the Inspector General. Mr. Lasher served most recently
as Assistant Inspector General for External Relations, and has
previously served as Deputy Counsel to the Inspector General.
- George Penn II, formerly a senior attorney in the Office of
Counsel, has been asked to serve as Deputy Assistant Inspector
General for External Relations.
- Scott Antolik has been selected as the Special Agent-in-Charge
of the Office of Quality Assurance and Professional Responsibility
within the Immediate Office.
- In the Office of Investigations, Guy Fallen has been selected
as the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Atlanta Field Division.
- Gerald Maye has been asked to serve on detail as Acting Deputy
Assistant Inspector General for the Office of Technology and
Resource Management on an interim basis until October 2008,
when OIG Leadership Development Program participants will begin
serving rotations in that position.
OIG Prepares as Hurricane Gustav Hits Louisiana
In preparation for Hurricane Gustav, Office of Investigations
agents in the Dallas Field Division office, and in Baton Rouge,
Louisiana in particular, were in constant contact with Federal,
State, and local authorities. Agents were on standby to assist
regional and local Social Security officials and employees. Although
Gustav proved less damaging than had been feared, the preparations
undertaken by OIG, like those undertaken by SSA, represented a
well planned and executed approach to ensuring that SSA services
would be available to those in need.
2008 OIG Executive Recognition Awards
We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2008 OIG Executive
Recognition Award. This award recognizes exceptional or outstanding
team achievements and contributions to OIG's objectives.
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Caseload Performance Audit
Team - Mark Bailey, Shannon Agee, Tonya Coffelt, Kenneth Bennett
, N. Brennan Kraje, Sandi Archibald. The team is recognized for
its significant contributions to SSA, Congress, and American taxpayers
through their work and recommendations related to the Office of
Disability Adjudication and Review's oversight of ALJ performance.
Succession Planning Workgroup/OIG Leadership Development Program
Ellen Schwartz, Mary Hipsley, Robert Meekins, Dennis Fabel, Margaret
Moore-Jackson, Joscelyn Funnie, Jonathan Lasher, Shirley Todd.
The team is recognized for its efforts to design and implement
the OIG Leadership Development Program, which will address future
OIG staff losses by providing a cadre of well-trained personnel
ready to assume leadership positions and move OIG forward to the
Left to right: Shirley Todd, Joscelyn Funnié, Jonathan
Lasher, Patrick O'Carroll, Jr., Robert Meekins, Margaret Moore-Jackson,
Ellen Schwartz, and Mary Hipsley (award recipient not pictured:
Boston Whaler Team - Jason Donnelly, Alforzo Hammonds,
Mark Sutton, Micah Spooner-Wyman, John Tedeman, Julie Constant,
John Cremonini, Joseph DeSantis, Michael Leonard Sarah Hanson,
Kevin Rogers, Jonathan Lasher. The team is recognized for its
outstanding efforts in an investigation concerning large-scale
Social Security number (SSN) misuse at Michael Bianco, Inc. and
Front Line Defense, Inc.
Waxman Request on Unimplemented Recommendations Team -
Chasity Crawley, Kimberly Beauchamp, Jerrod Hinton, Ronald Anderson,
Victoria Vetter, Sally Zeller. The team is recognized for its
response to a request from Congressman Waxman for detailed information
on all recommendations issued by OIG to SSA from January 2001
to present that were not implemented. The team identified 497
recommendations and summarized and prioritized the response by
audit objectives, findings, and recommendations.
Left to right: Sally Zeller, Jerrod Hinton, Chasity Crawley,
Patrick O'Carroll, Jr., Victoria Vetter, Kimberly Beauchamp, Ronald
Financial Institutions Audit and Testimony Team - Jason
Arrington, Ronald Gunia, Patrick Kennedy, N. Brennan Kraje, Jr.,
Jonathan Lasher, Kelly Lewis, Mark Meehan, Ashley Moore, George
Penn II, Kristen Schnatterly, Clara Soto, Wade Walters, Valerie
Wood, Joan Yurecsko, Charles Zaepfel. The team addressed recent
newspaper articles that raised public concern over financial institution
practices that put the benefits of SSA beneficiaries at risk.
left to right: Joan Yurecsko, Valerie Wood, Jonathan Lasher, George
Penn II, Patrick O'Carroll, Jr., Charles Zaepfel, Mark Meehan,
Kelly Lewis, N. Brennan Kraje, Jr., Kristen Schnatterly, Jason
Arrington, Patrick Kennedy (award recipients not pictured include
Ronald Gunia, Ashley Moore, Clara Soto, and Wade Walters).
ALJ Dual Employment Team - Kimberly Byrd, Thomas J. Caul,
Shane M. Henley, Mary Hipsley, Phillip Krieger, DeJuan Martin,
Frank Nagy, Deborah Shaw. The team collaborated to provide information
to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) concerning an ALJ
who inappropriately held full-time positions with both SSA and
the U.S. Army. Based on the efforts of this team, the MSPB ruled
that SSA can terminate the employment of the ALJ. Additionally,
SSA is seeking repayment of over $300,000 from the ALJ.
2008 President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency Awards
We are pleased to announce that several OIG employees and teams
have been recognized by the President's Council on Integrity and
Efficiency (PCIE) as part of its annual awards program. This award
recognizes exceptional or outstanding team achievements and contributions
to OIG's objectives.
The following are our 2008 PCIE award winners:
Award for Excellence-Audit: SSA OIG Medicare Part D Audit
Team - Granted in recognition of the team's outstanding performance
in assessing the effectiveness of SSA's Medicare Part D low income
subsidy eligibility determination and appeals processes. Team
members include: Office of Audit - Lela A. Cartwright, Patrick
Kennedy, N. Brennan Kraje Jr., Ronald P. Gunia, Warren D. Wasson.
Award for Excellence in Audit: Foreign Use of ATMs Audit Team
- Granted in recognition of the team's outstanding performance
in identifying Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients who
were overpaid due to being outside the United States. Team members
include: Office of Audit - Jeffrey T. Brown, Chad
M. Burns, Kevin M. Joyce, N. Brennan Kraje Jr., David Mazzola,
Judith M. Oliveira; Office of the Counsel to the Inspector
General - George E. Penn II.
Award for Excellence in Investigation: Operation "Double
Check" Phases 1 and 2 Team - Granted in recognition of
the team's exceptional contributions in combating fraud by targeting
chronic double check negotiators in Southwestern Michigan. Team
members include: Office of Investigations - William
C. Brown, John A. Pollock; Office of Technology and Resource
Management - Christopher A. Walters; SSA/Chicago
Regional Office - John H. Williams.
Award for Excellence in Law and Legislation: Civil Monetary
Penalty Double Check Negotiation Project Team - Granted in
recognition of the team's efforts to address double check negotiations
in Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri and Omaha, Nebraska, resulting
in significant monetary penalties. Team members include: Office
of the Counsel to the Inspector General - Sandi C. Archibald,
Penny L. Collender, Lewis A. Dardick, Diane L. Dona, Joscelyn
N. Funnie, Joseph C. Grow, Michele W. Homsey, Peter W. Johnson,
Erin M. Justice, David C. Rodriguez, Deborah Shaw; Office
of Investigations - Steven R. Barry, Jon R. Guilford,
Anthony A. Harvey.
Award for Excellence in Management: Gerald L. Maye - Recognized
for the outstanding effort and leadership he showed as the Criminal
Investigations Division Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge and
the leader of the Electronic Crimes Team (ECT). SAC Maye's development
and supervision of the ECT has resulted in superior forensic accomplishments
and successful investigation of numerous individuals for crimes
impacting SSA programs and operations.
OIG By the Numbers
In Fiscal Year 2008 through July 31, SSA OIG's 19 CDI Units have
closed 3,553 cases. CDI findings in these cases have led to projected
SSA program savings of over $178 million and non-SSA savings of
more than $114 million.
During the week of August 18-22, 2008, the SSA OIG Fraud Hotline
received 1,223 allegations.
During Fiscal Year 2008 through August 22, the SSA OIG Fraud Hotline
has received a total of 37,048 allegations. Of those, 30,166 (81
percent) were allegations of Title II or Title XVI disability
Our website provides guidelines for reporting fraud and a way
to submit an allegation to our Fraud Hotline. For more information,
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