Seventy-five Arrested and Charged in Puerto Rican Social Security Fraud
In August of 2013, 3 doctors, one former Social Security Administration (SSA) claims representative acting as a non-attorney claimant representative, and 71 Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries were indicted on charges of Social Security fraud in Puerto Rico.
According to the indictment, the doctors, the claimant representative, and the beneficiaries worked together to falsify and submit claims for SSDI benefits. Allegedly, the doctors were paid per case, and the claimant representative received a percentage of past due benefits awarded to the beneficiaries.
In September of 2013, the House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee held a hearing on the fraud. According to witness testimony, the SSA first discovered the fraud in 2009; the SSA’s Inspector General (IG) and the Regional Commissioner in charge of the New York Region (the territory that includes Puerto Rico) worked cooperatively to gather evidence. The FBI joined the investigation in 2011, and the Grand Jury proceedings began in 2013.
The witnesses testified about what steps the SSA is taking to minimize further instances of such fraud. They also spoke to just how important it is, especially in the face of the massive budget cuts to the SSA since 2011, that the SSA receive adequate funding to ensure that it retains the resources necessary to monitor and investigate fraudulent activity while at the same time, making sure that those who are legally entitled to benefits receive them in a timely manner.