We’re proud to share that some of our colleagues were recently recognized for their outstanding efforts to improve Social Security programs and protect citizens from fraud. The Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) honored its 2013 award recipients at a ceremony on November 15 in Washington, D.C.
The CIGIE recognized OIG attorney David C. Rodriguez for his efforts to target individuals and companies who used Social Security words or symbols in their advertisements to mislead consumers into thinking that the Social Security Administration had authorized or approved them. This year, Mr. Rodriguez has led a successful initiative to stop internet and mobile app violations. Through creativity and innovation in uncharted territory, he has personally shut down or forced compliance from dozens of websites, mobile apps, lawyer ads, email spammers, a Twitter account name, a toll-free 800 number, an identification card service, a publishing company, and an Amazon.com sale item.
We also congratulate Special Agent Emma C. Paredes on her award for excellence in investigations and innovative recruitment efforts. Agent Parades significantly contributed to an OIG investigative project combating a lottery scheme with hundreds of victims throughout the United States who lost their Social Security benefits and sometimes their life savings. Agent Paredes’ work as part of this investigation led to the prosecution of a foreign national who preyed on retired Americans. Agent Paredes also participated in a video filmed by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service about the exploitation of the elderly. The U.S. Postal Service plans to distribute these videos to members of Congress and other agencies who assist elderly Americans to warn them about these types of scams.
The CIGIE also acknowledged several OIG teams for their noteworthy accomplishments.
The Medicare Non-Usage Team received an award for excellence for their exceptional performance in using Medicare data to better identify beneficiaries that are deceased, avoiding significant overpayments.
The Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset Team received an award for excellence for its audit that identified over $1.7 billion in savings to the Social Security Trust Funds.
The Supplemental Security Income Program Integrity Review Team and the Hearing Office Video Teleconferencing Teams also received awards for excellence for their outstanding audits and investigations to improve the integrity of Social Security programs and the disability claims process.
We congratulate all of our award-winning employees and thank them for their hard work and unwavering commitment to serving the public and safeguarding Social Security funds.