Social Security fraud

3 Tips To Prevent Social Security Fraud

by Staff | January 31st, 2014

January 31, 2014

Each citizen of the United States has their work and income history attached to a set of digits, which is their Social Security number. It is important to protect the information associated with this number because, if put into the wrong hands, it could be used fraudulently and could cost the victim thousands in benefits.

The Social Security Disability Lawyers with Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin explain the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recently informed an Ohio-based company that personal information of their more than 500 employees, including Social Security numbers, may have been accessed illegally.

According to SC Magazine, the announcement was made on January 23. Since that time, the company has hired a computer security firm to overhaul their safeguards and are offering identity theft monitoring to each of the victims for one-year free of charge.

The attorneys with Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin are aware of the risks posed by identity theft and are offering citizens several Social Security safety tips to protect their information, including:

  • Protect Social Security Numbers– Never carry your Social Security card on yor person. Instead, keep it locked away in a safe location with other important documents. Never offer your Social Security number to another person over the phone or through an unsecured website.
  • Destroy Unnecessary Documents– Mail and other documents that contain sensitive numbers should either be shredded or burned. Never throw these documents away in the trash.
  • Be Cautious of Scams– If you receive a strange letter, email, or phone call, investigate before offering any information.

Report Shows $7.9 Billion In Fraudulent Social Security Payments

by Staff | May 3rd, 2013

May 3, 2013

While Social Security assists millions of Americans with their income, new data is showing the system is plagued with fraudulent and improper payments. Experts believe that the Social Security Administration (SSA) made more than $7.9 billion in improper payments last year alone.

Records indicate that roughly $4.7 billion in wrongful payments were made last year through Supplemental Security Income, giving this area of the program an improper payment rate of 9.2 percent. Furthermore, another $3.2 billion in illegal payments came from the Old Age, Survivors’ and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program.

CNS News stated the major reason for these improper payments seems to be Social Security Disability fraud. The problem can take many different forms, including beneficiaries who fail to inform the government of changes to income, or living arrangements. Each of these factors can significantly affect the amount an individual recipient is awarded in benefits.

To solve the problem, the new SSA Commissioner, Patrick O’Carroll, Jr., has stated he intends to have the agency conduct more reviews of recipient’s cases to ensure beneficiaries are not working on the side. Also, a computer database will be implemented that allows the agency to cross-reference information on beneficiaries in order to cut back on improper payments.

The Social Security Lawyers with Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin explain the problem of overpayments could make it more difficult for those who are applying for benefits to receive approval. The firm suggests discussing your case with an attorney if considering applying for benefits.

Beware: Fraud Extends to Tax Returns

by Staff | April 2nd, 2012

Thieves have found ways to steal Social Security numbers and dates of birth, which are used to file bogus tax returns, reports Trib.com.

The fake returns claim fraudulent deductions and expenses. Victims often don’t know about the identity theft until they receive a notice from the IRS. People also are victimized by unscrupulous tax return preparers, claiming that they can obtain big refunds for clients, and they falsify deductions.

The agency has developed a unit to help people avoid being victimized, said an IRS field media relations specialist. “We tell people not to carry their Social Security number with them,” she said. Requests for Social security numbers over the telephone or via email should be treated with extreme caution.

To avoid bogus tax refund schemes, the IRS says that consumers should beware of scams such as the following:

(1) Unfamiliar for-profit tax services selling refund schemes to members of local churches.

(2) Internet solicitations that direct individuals to toll-free numbers and then seek Social Security numbers.

(3) Flyers and brochures implying that refunds are available without proof of eligibility.

(4) Claims related to the expired Economic Recovery Credit Program or for economic stimulus payments.

Once defrauded, untangling the mess is often difficult. “It’s usually a complicated case. It’s not a quick fix,” said the IRS specialist.

If you or someone you know needs help with Social Security Disability benefits, contact the social security disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

Social Security employee confesses to fraud

by Staff | January 6th, 2012

A former Social Security employee was sentenced to six months of house arrest for selling Social Security numbers to a undercover federal agent, reports the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Selling Social Security numbers is a felony conviction.

A U.S. District federal judge also ordered the 57-year-old man to be under a three-year supervision by federal probation officers as punishment for his confession to fraud.

“The Social Security Administration is a critical infrastructure because it involves the national security of our country,” the federal judge said. “Certainly the offense the defendant stands convicted of is a serious offense.”

The defendant is retired from the Air force after a 20-year career and had worked for the Social Security Administration for 10 years.

The federal agency set up a sting operation in which an agent posed as a Florida business man who wanted to pay the defendant to procure Social Security numbers. In October and November 2010, the defendant sold three Social Security numbers for $100 each.

The defendant faced a maximum of a year in federal prison. After considering Booth’s military service and otherwise spotless criminal history, the judge opted for home detention.

Since the judge calls the selling of Social Security numbers “a serious offense,” why do you think that the defendant only got “house arrest” and probation?

Read more.

If you need help with your Social Security Disability benefits, contact the Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

4 Mentally Disabled People Locked in Basement While Captors Cash Disability Checks

by Staff | October 19th, 2011

In a news story that’s making waves around the world, a fourth person has been arrested for her connection to a scheme in which four mentally disabled adults were locked in a squalid basement in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, while their captors cashed their Social Security Disability checks.

On Wednesday authorities arrested a 32-year-old woman who is believed to be the daughter of the alleged ringleader, a 51-year-old convicted murder who was convicted in the starvation death of a man nearly 30 years ago.

The victims, weak and malnourished, were discovered by a landlord on Saturday after he heard dogs barking. The door to the basement was chained shut, but the landlord got in and, according to the Associated Press, he lifted a pile of blankets and found several pairs of eyes looking back at him. He also found a male chained to a boiler.

The victims include a 41-year-old North Carolina man, a 40-year-old Virginia man, a 29-year-old woman, and a 31-year-old man, both from Philadelphia.

On Tuesday police also took 10 young adults and juveniles (aged 2 – 19) into custody from the house and put them into protective custody. The 19-year-old was found malnourished and with signs of abuse. Authorities believe that many of the young people are related to the ringleader and her family members. They are doing DNA tests and obtaining birth certificates to determine if there’s any relation.

The Associated Press reports that the mentally disabled victims may have been imprisoned for years and that police missed several opportunities over the last few years to find these missing people.

Read more.

How do you think these criminals got away with cashing these people’s Social Security Disability checks for so long?

If you need help with your Social Security Disability benefits, contact the Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

Alabama Woman Pleads Guilty to Social Security Disability Fraud

by Staff | September 12th, 2011

The jig is up for a Birmingham, Alabama, woman who falsely applied for and collected Social Security Disability payments for nine years using her former daughter-in-law’s name and Social Security number. On Monday, September 12, she plead guilty to mail fraud and aggravated identity theft.

By the time the woman’s scheme was discovered—in March of this year—she had already received nearly $68K from the Social Security Administration.

The woman’s hearing occurred today at the Hugo L. Black U.S. Courthouse where the accused made her plea before U.S. District Court Judge Karon Bowdre. Using the information of her former daughter-in-law, the woman claimed disability beginning in March 2002 and continued receiving checks until March 2011. The indictment states that the woman’s daughter-in-law was not actually disabled and that she married the woman’s son in 2001 and divorced him in 2010.

The Birmingham News reports that the woman’s dishonesty was discovered when she applied for food stamps and a background check revealed that she was receiving’s Social Security payments.

The woman will be sentenced January 13.

Read more.

What do you think can be done to lessen the prevalence of Social Security fraud?

If you need help with your Social Security Disability benefits, contact the Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

Federal Prosecutors Nab 9 Kent, WA, Residents for Elaborate Disability Scam

by Staff | June 27th, 2011

Nine auto-dealers from Kent, Washington, were arrested Friday on charges of fraud and theft after allegedly scamming the Social Security Administration out of more than $700,000. The accused, each of whom worked in auto sales, falsely claimed that mental impairments left them unable to work.

The indictments state that the defendants variously faked disabilites during interviews, misrepresented their work histories and assets, and registered for and used multiple Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers.

One accused man, aged 50, originally applied for Social Security Disability in 1990, while a 45-year-old woman concurrently collected payments as his purported caregiver. Four others are accused of committing fraud for as long as 31 years by using second identities and claiming disability even as they ran a used car lot.

“These Social Security dollars provide a critical safety net for those who really need the assistance,” said U.S.  Attorney Jenny A. Durkan in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “This kind of fraud tears at that safety net and betrays taxpayers who expect their hard earned dollars to go to the truly needy.”

Why do you think that it’s so difficult for some people to have their disability benefits approved while others easily obtain disabilities fraudulently?

If you need help with your Social Security Disability benefits, contact the Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing Brother’s Social Security Disability Payments

by Staff | May 12th, 2011

On Wednesday a Kansas City, Missouri, man plead guilty to aggravated identity theft and mail fraud before U.S. District Judge Ortrie D. Smith. Prosecutors say the man, aged 66, stole more than $300,000 in Social Security Disability payments from the government by using his dead brother’s identity.

According to an investigation by the Social Security Administration–Office of Inspector General, the man used his late brother’s Social Security number to get Social Security Disability payments in his own name, all the while concealing that he had a job as a school bus driver and was earning an income. The man also committed fraud by using his brother’s identity to receive Social Security payments.

In addition, the man has been receiving Social Security Disability payments under his own name and Social Security number for more than 30 years. This is because he had part of his lower left leg amputated in 1980.

The man faces a minimum of two years in federal prison without parole with the possibility of a 22-year sentence without parole. He will also likely pay a $250,000 fine and restitution.

Read more.

Why do you think Social Security fraud is so common?

If you need help with your Social Security Disability benefits, the Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin may be able to help.

Oklahoma Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing Dead Grandfather’s Social Security Benefits for 27 Years

by Staff | May 9th, 2011

May 9, 2011

On Friday, an Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, man entered a guilty plea in federal court for making false statements and stealing 27 years worth of Social Security benefits that were assigned to his late step-grandfather. When he is sentenced, the man faces up to ten years in prison, as well as a $250,000 fine and restitution.

Federal prosecutors allege that the 59-year-old stole a total of $330,000 in benefits; however, the man only plead guilty to stealing $78,945 because his attorney argued that the statue of limitations extends back five years.

In addition to theft, the man plead guilty to three counts of making false statements to the Social Security Administration—for maintaining that the Social Security payments were being spent on food, clothing, housing and medical costs for his step-grandfather.

Why do you think it’s so easy for some to commit Social Security fraud, but hard for others to receive Social Security benefits when they qualify?

If you need help with your Social Security benefits, contact the Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

Woman indicted on charges for Social Security benefits fraud

by Staff | May 2nd, 2011

May 2, 2011

A woman has been indicted on charges for Social Security benefits fraud.

The woman applied for and received Social Security survivor benefits for one of her minor children, according to irondequoitpost.com. But the child was not fathered by the deceased and the child wasn’t entitled to Social Security benefits.

She could receive up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for Social Security benefits fraud.

Read more.

Why do you think it’s so easy for some to commit Social Security fraud, but hard for others to receive Social Security benefits when they qualify?

If you need help getting the Social Security benefits you deserve to get your life back on track, the Social Security lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin can help.