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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 4, 2019

Social Security Employee Facing Federal Indictment for a Scheme to Obtain Over $236,000 in Social Security Benefits by Allegedly Submitting Fictitious Claims

Used the Identities of Real People as well as Fictitious Identities to File the Claims

Baltimore, Maryland – A federal grand jury has indicted Cheikh Ahmet Tidiane Cisse, age 43, of Baltimore, Maryland, on federal charges in connection with a scheme in which Cisse allegedly filed fraudulent claims for Social Security benefits using fictitious identities and the identities of actual individuals, and attempted to collected over $236,000.  The indictment was returned on April 3, 2019. 

The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur and Special Agent in Charge Michael McGill of the Social Security Administration - Office of Inspector General, Philadelphia Field Division.

Cisse was employed by the Social Security Administration (SSA) as a Claims Specialist.  The 14-count indictment alleges that between July 2018 and March 2019, Cisse used his position at SSA to create fictitious identities within the SSA’s social security number database in order to file fictitious claims for benefits.  The indictment alleges that Cisse used both fictitious identities and the identities of actual individuals to file the fraudulent claims and stole or attempted to steal over $236,000 from SSA.

The indictment alleges that Cisse would input false information into SSA systems indicating that he had witnessed original documents, such as birth certificates, and marriage and divorce decrees, when in fact he had not.  In one instance, when SSA withheld payment due to suspected fraud, the indictment alleges that Cisse contacted SSA’s payment center and falsely relayed that the purported beneficiary had called inquiring about the whereabouts of the payment, which caused the payment center to release the funds.  Cisse allegedly directed payments on the fraudulent claims into accounts he controlled, then spent the funds through cash withdrawals and retail purchases.

According to the indictment, Cisse caused SSA to pay approximately $87,000 in fraudulent claims through direct deposit, issue approximately $46,000 in checks that were never negotiated, and authorize approximately $103,000 in claims that SSA halted before payments were issued.

If convicted, Cisse faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each of nine counts of wire fraud; a maximum of 10 years in prison for Social Security fraud and for theft of government property; and a mandatory two years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence imposed, for each of three counts of aggravated identity theft.  Cisse was arrested on a related criminal complaint on March 20, 2019, and was released under the supervision of U.S. Pretrial Services.  No court appearance has been scheduled yet on the indictment.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt.  An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings. 

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the SSA Office of Inspector General for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Hur thanked Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael F. Davio, who is prosecuting the case.

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Component(s): 
Contact: 
Marcia Murphy (410) 209-4854
Updated April 4, 2019