Article from AL.com here
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - A former employee of the Social Security Administration office in Birmingham at a hearing Tuesday pleaded guilty to stealing information and benefits.
Tabaris Archie Brown, 35, of Montgomery, entered a guilty plea at a hearing Tuesday morning before U.S. District Judge Karon O. Bowdre. Federal public defender Glennon Threatt is representing Brown. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tamarra Matthews Johnson is prosecuting the case.
Brown worked as a teleservice representative in the SSA Teleservice Center in Birmingham between April and July 2013.
The teleservice centers accept toll-free calls from the public. Brown's job was to receive calls and answer inquiries from SSA beneficiaries, requiring access to SSA databases such as the Master Beneficiary Record for Social Security beneficiaries.
Brown used his access to accounts and information such as Social Security numbers to alter bank deposit information, Matthews Johnson said. He changed the information for 11 beneficiaries so that each person's benefits would be paid into his accounts. Some of the money was successfully transferred, while other accounts were closed when bank officials determined that fraud was taking place.
According to a 14-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court, Brown was charged with 11 counts of wire fraud, one count of theft of government property for embezzling money and two counts of aggravated identity theft for unlawfully using someone else's Social Security number. He was indicted in December.
In a plea agreement with prosecutors, Brown pleaded guilty to one count each of wire fraud, theft of government property and aggravated identity theft. The remaining 11 charges will be dismissed if he meets the stipulations of the agreement.
He also must pay restitution for the money that was successfully diverted, Matthews Johnson said in court. Brown will remain on bond until his sentencing, which is set for 10 a.m. July 10.
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 maximum $100,000 fine.
The SSA's Office of the Inspector General investigated the case.