CHICAGO —(ENEWSPF)—June 12, 2018
By: Rosemary Piser
Anne Aroste, 42, a claims specialist for the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) has been indicted on federal fraud and identity theft charges for allegedly approving and pocketing at least $680,000 in fraudulent benefits. Aroste worked at the SSA’s field office in Aurora and was responsible for processing applications for Social Security benefits via the agency’s electronic records system.
According to the indictment, Aroste allegedly created fraudulent applications for benefits on the Social Security earnings records of deceased workers. She then used her employee credentials to approve the applications and to route the payments to bank accounts she controlled. From 2013 to last month, Aroste allegedly caused the U.S. Treasury Department to issue at least $680,962, in fraudulent payments.
The indictment charges Aroste with five counts of wire fraud and five counts of aggravated identity theft. Each count of wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, while each count of aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory, consecutive prison sentence of two years in prison. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.