Co-Conspirator Sentenced On Charge Of Social Security Fraud
June 17, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 16, 2021
From the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Puerto Rico:
SAN JUAN, P.R. – Samuel Pérez-Rivera was sentenced to three years of probation by United States District Judge Silvia L. Carreño-Coll for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, announced W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. Pérez-Rivera plead guilty to the sole count of an Information on March 12, 2020.
As part of the sentence imposed, Pérez-Rivera paid $150,000 in restitution in favor of the Social Security Administration (SSA) and was excluded, in perpetuity, from participating as a Non-Attorney Representative before the SSA. Pérez-Rivera, as a Non-Attorney Representative, submitted fraudulent psychiatric medical reports to the Social Security Administration. The fraudulent reports were prepared by him and signed by Dr. Américo Oms-Rivera. Dr. Oms was sentenced on February 5, 2021, for conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
On March 12, 2020, the United States Attorney charged Samuel Pérez-Rivera for fraud in the application process for SSA disability insurance benefits in Puerto Rico. As part of this scheme, Samuel Pérez-Rivera admitted that even though he was not a physician, he would prepare psychiatric medical reports, using as a go-by a template report and adding fictitious medical appointments that never took place. This was done to create the appearance of a longer history of medical treatment and for the purpose of deceiving the SSA into approving disability insurance benefits. These reports were eventually signed by the psychiatrist, Dr. Américo Oms-Rivera and submitted to the SSA.
The SSA is responsible for the implementation of the Disability Insurance Benefits Program. The SSA provides monetary benefits to workers with severe, long-term disabilities, who have worked in SSA covered employment for a required length of time. Spouses and dependent children of disabled workers may also be eligible to receive benefits. Fraud schemes, such as the one perpetrated in this case, compromise the SSA’s limited funding and its ability to reach those in need of benefits.
“This defendant defrauded the SSA for personal gain. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute this type of cases to the fullest extent of the law,” said U.S. Attorney Muldrow.
“This sentence represents another major milestone in this fraud scheme that our OIG investigators and the U.S. Attorney’s Office have worked diligently for several years to dismantle,” said Gail S. Ennis, Inspector General of the Social Security Administration. “This individual knowingly conspired to submit false information in support of disability claims to defraud SSA. We will continue to pursue those who facilitate Social Security fraud. I thank our law enforcement partners, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Vanessa D. Bonano-Rodriguez, for their outstanding efforts in support of this case.”
Special Assistant United States Attorney Vanessa D. Bonano-Rodríguez from the Social Security Administration was in charge of the prosecution of the case. This case was investigated by the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General, New York Field Division, under the supervision of Special Agent-in-Charge John Grasso, jointly with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Puerto Rico Police Bureau. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of Inspector General Health and Human Services also assisted during the investigation.