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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Georgia

Monday, December 2, 2013

Ex-Social Security Employee Sentenced To Prison For Extortion

ATLANTA - Cordell Fleming, a former Claims Representative with the Social Security Administration, has been sentenced to one year and one day in prison for extortion.

“Mr. Fleming abused his position of public trust with the Social Security Administration when he extorted money from the disabled, aged, and indigent, in return for expediting their claims” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “The defendant earned every day of this prison sentence.”

“While employee fraud is rare in SSA’s dedicated work force, the Office of the Inspector General has no higher priority than the investigation and prosecution of the rare individual who violates the public trust.  I’m pleased to see this case brought to a successful conclusion and grateful that the U.S. Attorney’s Office shares our determination to ensure the integrity of SSA’s programs,” said Thomas Caul, Special Agent in Charge, Office of the Inspector General  for the Social Security Administration.

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court:  Fleming worked as a Claims Representative for the Social Security Administration in Morrow, Ga. As part of his duties, Fleming processed requests for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments for eligible individuals. SSI is a Federal income supplement program designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little or no income, by providing cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter. As part of his scheme, Fleming offered to “expedite” the processing time of SSI payments to recipients in exchange for a fee.  In an attempt to make the expedited SSI payments appear legitimate, Fleming frequently created false documents that purportedly justified the expedited disbursement of the payments. From October 2012 to April 2013, Fleming extorted and attempted to extort money (in amounts ranging from approximately $500 to $1,800) from at least nine SSI recipients or their representatives.

On August 27, 2013, Fleming, 47, of Conyers, Ga., pleaded guilty to Extortion under the Color of Official Right. Today, United States District Judge Timothy C. Batten, Sr. sentenced Fleming to one year and one day in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and full restitution.  He was also ordered to perform 120 hours of community service. 

This case was investigated by Special Agents of the Social Security Administration - Office of the Inspector General.

Special Assistant United States Attorney Diane C. Schulman and Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey W. Davis prosecuted the case.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.

Updated April 8, 2015