Four Individuals Indicted For Conspiracy To Commit Social Security Fraud
MINNEAPOLIS—Recently in federal court, four individuals were indicted for conspiracy to commit Social Security fraud. Victor Ray Holloway, age 52, of Richfield; Dianne Josephine Chess, age 49, of St. Paul; Angela Grace Hinkle, age 46, of Lewisville, Texas; and Larhea Lynn Nakao, age 33, of Brooklyn Park, are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit Social Security fraud. Holloway and Chess are also charged with three counts of Social Security Fraud. Holloway and Hinkle are each charged with one count of use of false Social Security number. Nakao is charged with two counts of use of false Social Security numbers, one count of false statements, and one count of theft of public money. Holloway is also charged with one count of theft of public money. The indictment, which was filed on November 14, 2012, was unsealed following the defendants’ initial appearances in federal court.
According to the indictment, from May 2001 until June 2010, the four defendants conspired to provide false information to the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) so they could fraudulently obtain Social Security account numbers and cards. The indictment alleges that Dianne Josephine Chess was employed as a Service Representative of the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) at a branch office in St. Paul. Her responsibilities included inputting data and information provided by applicants who were seeking a Social Security account number. Based on the information entered into the SSA’s computerized data system, the Commissioner of Social Security assigns Social Security account numbers and issues Social Security cards to eligible applicants. Holloway purportedly asked Chess to fraudulently obtain Social Security account numbers and cards for himself and other co-conspirators.
According to the indictment, Holloway and Hinkle then used their false Social Security numbers in application for a Minnesota ID while Nakao used the false number in applications for employment and for unemployment benefit payments. In addition, Nakao allegedly failed to disclose that she was earning wages on her Initial Information Sheet to the Metropolitan Council Housing & Redevelopment Authority and purportedly stole $16,332 in Section 8 housing assistance payments to which she was not entitled from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”). Lastly, Holloway allegedly embezzled approximately $77,318 in Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) disability benefits to which he was not entitled.
If convicted, the defendants face a potential maximum penalty of five years in federal prison for one count of conspiracy to commit Social Security fraud, five years for each count of Social Security fraud, five years for each count of use of a false Social Security number, and ten years for one count of theft of public money. Nakao also faces a potential maximum penalty of five years in prison for a false statement to HUD. All sentences are ultimately determined by a federal district court judge.
This case is the result of an investigation by the SSA-Office of Inspector General and the HUD-Office of Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Dunne.
An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that there is probable cause to believe that offenses have been committed by a defendant. A defendant, of course, is presumed innocent until he or she pleads guilty or is proven guilty at trial.