Jul 9, 2015

Benefits Authorizer Charged With Fraud

     From the Chicago Sun-Times:
Five people, including a Social Security Administration employee, are facing federal charges for a kickback scheme involving $1.9 million in fraudulent benefits.
Jayson Cruz, 39, worked as a benefits authorizer at the administration’s Great Lakes Program Service Center in Chicago at the time of the alleged fraud between 2009 and 2013, prosecutors said.
He and four other people were charged in a June 30 indictment that was unsealed Wednesday after their arrests, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
According to the indictment, Cruz was responsible for authorizing monthly old-age, survivors and disability insurance benefits to beneficiaries and their families.
Cruz — along with co-defendants Monica Knox-Sumrell, Vonzell White, Michael Elarde and Jerry Brown Jr. — recruited recipients to receive additional payments on top of what they were owed, authorities claim.
Prosecutors also claim Knox-Sumrell also falsely told recipients that she worked for the Social Security Administration.
Cruz authorized the extra, fraudulent payments, taking care to keep the amounts below a $6,000 threshold that would have required a supervisor’s approval, the indictment said.
His four co-defendants later collected the majority of the money back from the people they recruited, the indictment claims.
Cruz also fraudulently authorized payments to White, Elarde, Brown and others by falsely portraying them as representatives of deceased beneficiaries who were owned money from the administration, according to the indictment.
The Social Security Administration ultimately paid out $1.9 million in fraudulent benefits to more than 150 people because of the scheme, authorities said.


Anonymous said...

Fraud is rampant, fraud is rampant....within the Social Security Administration itself!

Anonymous said...

Bank robberies are rampant, bank robberies are rampant! However, how many people get away with it? Although attempts may be frequent, successes are few. I represented criminal defendants for years, including a number of bank robbers, and I can't think of a crime with worse odds of success. Just because frauds are caught, does NOT mean that fraud is rampant, nor does it mean that its odds of success are great. I note that what many commentaries on this blog consider "fraud" includes administrative errors and overpayments--not all of which are purposeful.

Dina Padilla said...

Some employees are in fact committing fraud by purposely post dating application dates. Got this in handwriting that undermines back and current benefits. One cannot get anyone in the SSA to investigate this.
Between staffers in congress and the SSA, they got quite the racket going on to criminally reduce recipient benefits from SSDI to SSI. Nothing like saving money for employers to not pay out their share of FICA. Congress members are just as bad in helping hide what the SSA & employers do to keep from paying out the right amount of SSDI benefits. SSI is for no one who has NOT worked in at least 10 years but that is what workers who have long work histories concurrent to their application TO SSS will receive, SSI. NOT SSDI. It's been happening since 1987. So it is the SSA culture from within and it is thus rampant.If you think there is a inside way to get an investigation into the SSA by the OIG or anyone else, think again.
This is what is happened to anyone who filed a worker comp claim and oh yes, the injured worker doesn't get any total disability from the employer's comp either. Such a deal!All for employers, by the congress and the unions(dol). So maybe, this employee who gave benefits to above folks, are the reason why we, as the real beneficiaries, are not receiving our total amount of SSDI. It's a racket and it's rampant.
Who do we go to to get back our stolen benefits because so far, there is no one. So far.