Social Security Fraud
Social Security is the largest safety net program in the United States. It helps keep nearly 60 million Americans afloat and is financed through a payroll tax. Trillions of taxpayer dollars are available for those who need support and meet the qualifications; however, Social Security fraud is a rampant issue that the federal government strives to address. The Office of the Inspector General or OIG plays a primary role auditing and investigating the Social Security benefits program. Investigators are highly trained to recognize Social Security fraud, abuse, and waste.
The OIG’s Office of Investigations conducts investigations under the authority of the Inspector General Act of 1978. Federal criminal investigators called Special Agents conduct investigations with a nearly unlimited amount of resources.The U.S. Attorney General authorizes these agents to enforce Social Security regulations. Special Agents are experienced law enforcement professionals who dedicate their careers to uncovering fraud and pursuing punishment. If you are under investigation for Social Security fraud in West Palm Beach, The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel can help you fight the accusations against you.
Understanding Social Security Fraud in West Palm Beach
The Office of the Inspector General scrutinizes each instance of potential fraud that comes their way. They regularly conduct internal audits and receive tips from citizens who suspect someone they know is abusing the system. It is entirely possible that a neighbor, friend, coworker, family member, or another person with whom you’ve interacted has reported you for fraud.
In the most basic terms, Social Security fraud occurs when a person who is not entitled to Social Security benefits receives funds from the Social Security program. There are many ways an individual, a group of individuals, or a company can take advantage of Social Security benefits, including:
- Making false claims on applications for Social Security benefits
- Concealing facts or events that affect one’s eligibility to receive benefits, or failing to inform the Social Security Administration regarding changes in one’s income status, living arrangements, or medical conditions
- Illegally buying and selling counterfeit or authentic Social Security cards
- Misusing social security numbers to commit terrorism
- Crimes involving Social Security Administration employees or those posing as Social Security Administration employees
- Bribing Social Security Administration employees
- Worker’s compensation fraud
- Scams involving the impersonation of a Social Security Administration Employee
- The misuse of Social Security benefits funds by a representative payee (a person appointed to handle the Social Security matters of a person who receives Social Security benefits)
- Continuing to collect Social Security benefits on behalf of a deceased recipient
What Happens when a Deceased Person Receives Social Security Benefits?
It can take months or years for the Social Security Administration to learn that one of its beneficiaries has passed away. The consequences are that the SSA ends up paying millions of dollars in benefits to people who no longer need them. The government does not have a reliable system in place to keep track of who has passed away and should no longer receive benefits.
At times, surviving family members may take advantage of the checks that are still coming. While it may seem harmless to use the funds allotted to their deceased relative, this is an act of Social Security fraud, which is a federal crime. These seemingly innocent actions can have drastic consequences without the representation of an experienced attorney like Brian Gabriel who has defended federal offenses in the federal court system.
A person may face several years in a federal prison and may be required to pay back restitution to victims plus additional monetary penalties. Fines can reach as much as $250,000 for Social Security Fraud.
Call 561-622-5575 or email us a description of your case to set up a free and confidential case review. You will get a chance to speak with Mr. Gabriel about your case and discover the legal options available to you for your defense.