From the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey:
CAMDEN, N.J. – A Social Security Administration employee was sentenced today to 34 months in prison for unlawfully accessing the Social Security accounts of individuals and falsifying their records in order to steal funds for his own use, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Nicholas Pao, 38, of Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez to an information charging him with one count of theft of government funds and two counts of aggravated identity theft. Judge Rodriguez imposed the sentence today in Camden federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Pao was a 10-year employee of the Social Security Administration who worked as a claims technical expert in the Social Security Administration’s office in Egg Harbor Township. Pao was responsible for determining eligibility and payment amounts, processing difficult cases, assisting in case reviews, and making special payment approvals. From December 2014 to July 2018, Pao used his credentials to access the confidential records of several individuals without their knowledge or authority. He altered their records and made fraudulent changes that caused the Social Security Administration to issue benefits to these individuals. Pao would then intercept these benefits, which were issued by way of a Direct Express account and credit card. Pao depleted the funds issued on the Direct Express accounts without the knowledge or consent of the individuals. Pao stole approximately $100,000 in Social Security funds.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Rodriguez sentenced Pao to three years of supervised release and ordered him to make full restitution to the SSA.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the Office of the Inspector General, Social Security Administration, under the direction of John F. Grasso with the investigation.
The government is represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Meriah Russell of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden.