New York Man Charged with Social Security Fraud

Date: 
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Office Affiliation: 

Press Release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of New York, here

BUFFALO, N.Y.--U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr., announced today that Ari Elias Baum, 29, of Buffalo, N.Y., was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with making a false statement to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and withholding material information from the agency concerning his eligibility to receive disability benefits. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul J. Campana, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, in 2010, the defendant’s Social Security benefits were discontinued after it was determined Baum was outside the United States for a period exceeding 30 consecutive days. The complaint alleges that in December 2010 and again in March 2013, Baum was advised of his obligation to report to the SSA if he was outside the United States for 30 or more consecutive days.

According to border crossing records, the defendant was outside of the country continuously from March 22, 2013, until August 13, 2013. When contacted by the SSA on December 91, 2013, Baum failed to mention this to the agency. The complaint alleges that Baum left the United States again on January 1, 2014, and did not return until May 13, 2014. The defendant’s absence from the United States resulted in an overpayment of Social Security benefits exceeding $6,400.

Baum made an initial appearance on May 13, 2014 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy, who ordered the defendant detained pending a detention hearing scheduled for Thursday, May 15, 2014, at 1:30 pm.

The complaint is the result of an investigation on the part of the United States Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Edward J. Ryan and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.