Cranston Man Sentenced for Defrauding Social Security, Trafficking Oxycodone
PROVIDENCE, RI – A Cranston man who admitted to collecting Social Security Supplemental Security Income (SSI) while at the same time depositing hundreds of thousands of dollars in his personal bank account and obtaining a home mortgage for more than a quarter million dollars was sentenced today to 18 months in federal prison and ordered to pay back funds he obtained fraudulently from the Social Security Administration.
In addition to pleading guilty on June 25, 2018, to Social Security fraud, Raymond Walker, 48, pleaded guilty to attempt to possess with the intent to distribute Oxycodone, admitting to the court that he was trafficking Oxycodone.
U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith today ordered Walker to serve 18 months in prison to be followed by 3 years supervised release. Walker was ordered to pay $14,301 restitution to the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Walker’s sentence is announced by United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman, Special Agent in Charge of the Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA-OCI) Jeffrey J. Ebersole, Scott E. Antolik, Special Agent in Charge of the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG), and Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New England Field Division Brian D. Boyle.
According to information presented to the Court, Walker began receiving SSI benefits in 1992. SSI is meant to assist aged, blind, and disabled people who have little to no income. To be eligible, one has to be disabled, unable to engage in substantial gainful activity, and have limited income and resources. SSA takes into account a claimant’s resources and allows an individual to hold up to $2,000 worth of resources. “Income” includes money a claimant receives from work and other sources, such as friends and relatives. The claimant must notify SSA of any significant changes in conditions affecting the receipt of benefits, to include work activity, as either an employee or self-employed individual.
At the time of his guilty plea, Walker was receiving monthly SSI payments of $500 dollars.
In September 2017, Walker was interviewed by a SSA claims specialist and informed the claims specialist that since July 2015 his only resources were a 1988 vehicle and a bank account with no more than $200 in it at any time. He told the interviewer that he received approximately $200 per month from family members to assist with personal expenses.
However, an investigation by FDA-OCI, SSA-OIG, and the United States Attorney’s Office determined that between December 2013 and July 2017, Walker deposited $306,435 into his personal bank account; he held a $282,000 mortgage for a Cranston property, with a monthly mortgage payment of approximately $2,100; and he owned a 2016 Audi A8.
When applying for the mortgage, Walker claimed to be employed as a construction project manager earning approximately $7,400 per month.
Information was also developed by law enforcement that Walker was actively engaged in drug trafficking. On October 4, 2017, at the direction of FDA-OCI agents, a cooperating witness met with Walker at Walker’s mother’s house and sold him two bottles containing 168 inert 30 mg Oxycodone pills provided by the DEA for $5,000. When the cooperating witness returned approximately 90 minutes later to receive payment for the pills, Walker informed the individual he had already received complaints regarding the strength of the pills. In that 90 minutes, agents observed Walker’s mother’s home and saw numerous individuals stopping in front of the house and engaging with Walker to purchase the pills.
A court-authorized search of the residence that day resulted in the seizure of a money counter and $775 in cash. $5,000 was seized from inside a wheel compartment of his vehicle.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dulce Donovan.