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What A Difference A Year Makes

What A Difference A Year Makes

Senior Director of Strategic Alliances
LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

What a difference a year makes. In February 2019, James Anthony Sandoval spoke with a potential customer at the San Antonio, Texas, Stock and Rodeo Show, where Sandoval had a booth for his jewelry business, Traditions Past and Present. Sandoval said he sold customized jewelry from the Santa Fe area and had been selling custom-made jewelry at the show for about 10 years. He also said his pieces ranged in price from $500-$20,000 and that he did not sell to wholesalers. Too bad that potential customer happened to be an undercover agent for the Social Security Administration. One year later, in February of 2020, Sandoval is in the Rio Rancho Social Security office to renew his disability claims which he had been receiving since 2007. The question of his involvement with the jewelry business came up and the interview took a turn for the worse.

The Cooperative Disability Investigators Office had found that Sandoval opened the company in 2009 and was the designer and creator of the business’s jewelry. There were also reports and photographs of Sandoval working at the business, including working at a vendor booth at the Texas trade show. The government also presented bank records from Traditions as well as Sandoval’s personal records from 2014-19 that included several transactions from the jewelry business to the personal accounts. All under the control of Sandoval.

Sandoval received more than $182,000 in SSA benefits and Medicare paid more than $94,000 for services Sandoval received when he was not eligible for such benefits. On March 3, 2024, Sandoval was sentenced to fifteen months in prison for Social Security fraud.

Great job by the Social Security Administration with this investigation.

Today’s Fraud of The Day is based on article “Rio Rancho Man Sentenced For Social Security Fraud” published by the Rio Rancho Observer on March 3, 2024

A Rio Rancho man was sentenced to 15 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $55,000 in restitution after being found guilty of theft of government property and other charges. A federal jury found James Anthony Sandoval, 58, on 33 counts of the theft charge as well as one count each of making false statements and false statements on a Social Security form Dec. 16, 2022.

The federal indictment was issued June 15, 2022. Court records indicate he became eligible for disability benefits in 2007, and the Social Security Administration began issuing payments to Sandoval, including to his children, and Medicare benefits.

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