The United States Attorney's office, as a result of investigations by the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG), completed ten prosecutions in Fiscal Year 2012 where defendants defrauded the government by receiving Social Security payments to which they were not entitled and were ordered to pay restitution that, collectively, exceeded $1.7 million. The cases, announced by United States Attorney Zane David Memeger, Regional Chief Counsel Eric Kressman with the Social Security Administration Office of General Counsel, and Special Agent-in-Charge Michael McGill of the Philadelphia Field Division of the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG), are the result of a crackdown on Social Security fraud in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The effort includes two Special Assistant United States Attorneys, Thomas Moshang III and Amanda R. Reinitz, who are on assignment from the Social Security Administration’s Office of General Counsel as part of the joint project between that office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. These Special Assistant United States Attorneys work with the special agents of the SSA-OIG in investigating and prosecuting Social Security fraud cases throughout the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
“Every year fraudsters steal millions of dollars from the Social Security without any concern for those actually entitled to benefits under the program,” said Memeger. “Indeed, nearly two million dollars in restitution was ordered last year in this district for fraud schemes involving Social Security. My office will continue to vigorously prosecute these cases so that taxpayer money is used for the purpose intended, that is, providing needed assistance to retirees, disabled workers, and immediate family members of deceased workers.”
“The cases outlined below are a few examples of the Social Security Administration's commitment to rooting out fraud and ensuring the integrity of our system,” said Kressman. “Plain and simple, we want to make sure that the people entitled to benefits are getting them and that those who try to game the system are held accountable. The Eastern District of Pennsylvania has been a leader in this area and the success of the initiative here should serve as a warning to all those who think it's acceptable to abuse our federal programs.”
“I'm gratified at the results of this joint effort, and I want to thank United States Attorney Zane DavidMemeger and Regional Chief Counsel Eric Kressman for their unwavering support,” said McGill. “The SSA-OIG is steadfast in its commitment to combating Social Security fraud, and relies heavily on the cooperation of both the Department of Justice and the Social Security Administration. These results illustrate with remarkable clarity what can be accomplished to preserve Social Security funds for those entitled to them when each of those parties not only commits to combating fraud waste and abuse, but acts on that commitment.”
In addition to the more than $1.7 million dollars in restitution ordered in the last fiscal year, during fiscal year 2010, ordered restitution to the Social Security Administration was $255,341.94, and was $857,844 in fiscal year 2011.
Nationally, in Fiscal Year 2011, there were more than 103,000 allegations of Social Security fraud, with more than 7,000 criminal investigations resulting in 1,374 convictions and more than $410 million in recoveries, fines, restitution, judgments, settlements, and savings.