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SocialSecurity-5
Senior Director of Strategic Alliances
LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

You would think one little tropical island like Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States, would not have much fraud in it. But fraud has no limits, even for a low populated territory of the United States that doesn’t have full rights to social security benefits. On September 29, Judge Muldrow indicted seven people — four women and three men — with allegedly defrauding Social Security and Medicare, for a combined total of $1,021,286. If you heard Judge Muldrow’s cases that day, it might make you ask, besides Judge Muldrow, did anyone do their job?

Sonia I. Vargas Rodríguez for instance, was the owner and representative of Hogar Sendero de Amor, Inc., an elderly care center located in Mayagüez PR. Vargas Rodrí­guez had two people under his care, and both passed away in 2013 and 2014. But Vargas Rodríguez did not report those deaths to the SSA and continued to cash their checks, totaling $114,590.  What is really alarming though is that the Family Department closed this nursing home in June 2014 due to claims of neglect and abuse. Did anyone check in on the patients?

Apparently not.

Yahaira Cruz Cintron claimed she worked in the United States for eight years, applying for and receiving $196,772.75 from Social Security and $164,694.03 in Medicare. However, Ms. Cintron never worked in the United States. Did anyone check the W-2s?

Apparently not.

Neither of these two individuals should be confused with Norberto Berrios Rodriguez and Pedo Medina-Medina, both of whom had jobs, yet both allegedly collected Social Security benefits and Medicare while doing so. In total they received $174,000. Did anyone confirm they were unemployed?

Apparently not.

The last three fraudsters knowingly stole identities to fraudulently receive benefits. Luis A. Soto Torres was charged for taking $122,483.90 from Social Security when the payments were made in the name of M.S.C. Marialices Cora Martinez was charged for taking $59,079.30 from Social Security when payments were made in the name of L.L.M.  And Janice Rodriguez Mendez was charged for taking $18,784.00 from Social Security when payments were made in the name of A.R.L. Did anyone question why the checks were made out to initials?

Apparently not.

Shout out to the Office of the Inspector General of the Social Security Administration who investigated these cases.

Today’s Fraud of the Day is based on an article “Seven people are accused of millionaire fraud to Social Security and Medicare in Puerto Rico” published by Puerto Rican Spokesman on October 5, 2022

A federal grand jury on September 29 indicted seven people – four women and three men – with defrauding Social Security and Medicare, representing a total loss of $1,021,286.22.As reported by the United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, W. Stephen Muldrow, the defendants arrested yesterday stole thousands of dollars in Social Security (SSA) benefits that did not belong to them.

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