From the U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Alabama:
BIRMINGHAM -- A federal grand jury has indicted a former Social Security Administration claims representative for using his position to steal identifying information and benefits from Social Security beneficiaries, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, Special Agent in Charge Guy Fallen.
A 10-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges ALEX JAMANE FLOWERS, 33, of Fairfield, with wire fraud, theft of government property and aggravated identity theft in a scheme to obtain money and property fraudulently from the SSA.
Flowers was a claims representative in the SSA Birmingham District Office between May 2013 and July 2013 when the crimes occurred. The duties of a claims representative include, but are not limited to, obtaining, clarifying and verifying information which will be used to analyze claims and make decisions regarding entitlement to benefits. His job responsibilities required that he have access to SSA databases, including the National Computer Center, which houses records for Social Security beneficiaries.
According to the indictment, Flowers used his access to accounts and identifying information of beneficiaries, including Social Security numbers, to cause SSA to issue payments to claimants and beneficiaries, and directed each payment into accounts that he controlled.
The indictment charges Flowers with seven counts of wire fraud for each interstate communication he made to cause a payment to be issued. He faces one count of theft of government property for embezzling money from the SSA, and two counts of aggravated identity theft for unlawfully using someone else's Social Security number in relation to the wire fraud and government property theft.
The maximum penalty for wire fraud is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for theft of government property is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Aggravated identity theft carries a minimum two-year prison term and a $250,000 fine.
SSA-OIG investigated the case, which the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama is prosecuting.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent and it will be the government's responsibility to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.