News and Press Releases

SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION EMPLOYEE INDICTED FOR STEALING FUNDS FROM BENEFICIARIES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 16, 2011

LOS ANGELES – A federal grand jury today indicted an employee of the Social Security Administration on charges of stealing money from Social Security beneficiaries while working as a claims representative at the SSA district office in Whittier.

Gezal Rebbecca Duran, 32, of Pomona, was indicted on four counts of theft by a government employee.

According to the indictment, Duran worked at the Social Security Administration, where she processed benefit applications and made payments to Social Security beneficiaries. From approximately October 2009 through October 2010, Duran allegedly stole money that had been returned by Social Security beneficiaries after Duran told them they had received or were going to receive overpayments. The indictment specifically alleges that Duran received funds from four Social Security beneficiaries and then deposited checks, money orders and cash totaling approximately $6,000 into her personal bank account.

The investigation revealed that Duran told the beneficiaries that they needed to repay the government agency. Duran allegedly instructed the beneficiaries to repay the money to Duran.

The investigation is still ongoing, but investigators currently estimate that Duran took money from at least 15 beneficiaries who “repaid” more than $17,000 to Duran.

Duran was arrested on July 22 pursuant to a criminal complaint filed in federal court. Duran, who is free on bond, is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment on August 29.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

If convicted of the four counts in the indictment, Duran would face a statutory maximum sentence of 40 years in federal prison.

This investigation was conducted by the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General.

Release No. 11-118

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