Former Social Security Administration Employee Indicted and Arrested for $1.8 Million Theft of Social Security Funds

Mar 15, 2024

From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On March 6, 2024, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned a 17-count indictment charging Myrna Faria, a.k.a. Myrna Oliveras-Santiago, with theft of government funds in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 641, mail fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341, misuse of Social Security numbers in violation of 41 U.S.C. § 408(a)(8), and aggravated identity theft in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A, announced W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.

According to court documents, Faria was employed by the Social Security Administration (SSA) from approximately 1991 through 2019 as a “Social Insurance Specialist” and “Claims Specialist” working in the Workload Support Unit in San Juan, Puerto Rico. From March 2012 through March 2024, Faria embezzled and stole SSA funds, namely Retirement Insurance Benefits, Survivors Insurance Benefits and Auxiliary Benefit payments, to which she knew she was not entitled. In total, Faria stole approximately $1,812,455.10.

Faria utilized her position within SSA to submit false claims on behalf of others, using the identity of individuals she believed to be deceased. She then approved those false claims and submitted her own bank and address information to fraudulently receive the corresponding SSA beneficiary proceeds. Faria proceeded to withdraw, transfer, and spend the money from the accounts that fraudulently obtained the SSA funds. Over the span of twelve years, Faria submitted and approved 13 fraudulent claims. A total of 10 fraudulent claims were still active and receiving funds as of the date of the Indictment.

“It is especially egregious when individuals that hold positions of public trust engage in criminal activity,” said W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “The defendant charged in this case allegedly abused the trust placed in her by the Social Security Administration and the public. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to work with all law enforcement agencies to safeguard the integrity of federal government institutions and to bring corrupt officials to justice.”

“Ms. Faria exploited her position with the Social Security Administration for her own personal gain stealing over $1.8 million. Evidence obtained in this investigation revealed that Ms. Faria fabricated retirement insurance benefits, divorced or widowed survivors, and auxiliary claims for 13 individuals who were deceased, or who she expected to be deceased. Ms. Faria then caused the fraudulent benefit payments to be made by SSA and directed all SSA payments to herself,” said Sharon MacDermott, Special Agent in Charge for the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General. “We will continue to work with SSA to identify fraudulent benefits payments. I want to thank the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for its efforts in this investigation and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for prosecuting this case.”

“The subject in this case used her position as an employee of the Social Security Administration to create false benefits claims using social security numbers for deceased individuals, as well as other tactics, and in doing so, she stole almost 2 million dollars. Even after she retired, she continued to enrich herself illegally. This is embarrassing and despicable conduct by a public official, someone called to serve the people, not take from them,” said Joseph González, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI San Juan Field Office. “No one is above the law, and even if you think you can get away with it, we will find out sooner or later, and you will face consequences. I want to thank our colleagues from the Social Security Administration’s OIG, who did a fantastic job analyzing an enormous amount of data to detect this scheme, and the US Postal Inspector’s Service for assisting with this investigation.”

The Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the US Postal Inspection Service are investigating the case with the assistance from the Puerto Rico Police Bureau.

If convicted, the defendant faces the following maximum penalties: 10 years of imprisonment for Theft of Government Property; 20 years of imprisonment for Mail Fraud; 5 years of imprisonment for misuse of Social Security numbers; and a mandatory consecutive sentence of at least two years for the aggravated identity theft charges. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Vanessa D. Bonano-Rodríguez is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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