SSA Employee in Louisiana Pleads Guilty to Government Theft

Date: 
Thursday, April 13, 2017
Office Affiliation: 

From the U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana:

 

Acting U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that MICHAELLE MARTINEZ, age 39, of Marrero, pled guilty today to Theft of Government Funds.

 

According to the court documents, MARTINEZ was employed for approximately eight years as a Claims Representative/Social Insurance Specialist in the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) District Office located in Terrytown, Louisiana. MARTINEZ was responsible for the adjudication and authorization of SSA benefits on behalf of the SSA. To accomplish her scheme, MARTINEZ identified beneficiaries who were entitled to receive retroactive or back payments from the SSA. MARTINEZ would change the recipient’s deposit information and would divert the SSA money to bank accounts under her control. MARTINEZ then changed the deposit information back before the beneficiaries would notice a problem. In total, MARTINEZ stole $15,104.56 from several SSA beneficiaries.

 

MARTINEZ faces a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment, followed by up to three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. U.S. District Judge Lance M. Africk set sentencing for July 27, 2017.

 

Acting U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, in investigating this matter. Fraud Unit Chief, Assistant U. S. Attorney Brian M. Klebba is in charge of the prosecution.