Nov 29, 2015

Taking Bribes To Speed Up Adjudication Of Social Security Disability Claims

     From the Sun Sentinel, one of many newspapers that hides where it's located:
A former claims representative for the Social Security Administration who took money to speed up the benefits process for selected clients was sentenced to four months in jail followed by four months of house arrest Wednesday.
Maria Sanchez, 50, of Pembroke Pines [apparently a town in Florida], was immediately taken into federal custody. She admitted earlier this year that she received between $13,000 and $15,000 in illegal payments in exchange for moving people to the top of the benefits list.
About every three weeks between 2008 and early 2011, when she decided to stop, Sanchez received a green folder that contained five or six Social Security benefits applications and a white envelope that usually contained $500 in $100 bills. The folders were dropped off at Sanchez's office or during meetings in a Hollywood parking lot, investigators said.
Federal prosecutors said Sanchez took money and gave preferential treatment to speed up the application process for clients of Irma Davidian, 52, of Boca Raton. ...

Davidian was the director of American Advisory Associates, a Boca Raton company that advertised it could help applicants obtain government benefits. Davidian has admitted she recruited clients by running ads in a Russian-language newspaper and they paid her to help them apply for assistance. She is scheduled to be sentenced next month. ...
Though Sanchez did not personally approve the benefits and prosecutors said nobody she helped received any benefit they were not entitled to, Sanchez unfairly moved them to the top of the waiting list and moved other people to the bottom.
     It's hard to tell from the article but it looks like Ms. Sanchez was maintaining her "business" on the side while employed at a Social Security field office.


Anonymous said...

Did she also get fired or did the union argue that she just needed training?

Anonymous said...

It is the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, located in the Ft. Lauderdale-Palm Beach area, I think (Broward and Palm Beach counties).