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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Tennessee

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Social Security Claims Representative Charged With Two Counts Of Bribery, Two Counts Of Extortion

Memphis, TN – Montrell Levelle Arnold, 42, of Memphis, TN, was indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury on two counts of extortion and two counts of bribery, announced U.S. Attorney Edward L. Stanton III.

According to the facts alleged in the indictment, on at least two occasions while Arnold was working as a Claims Representative for the United States Social Security Administration (SSA), he offered to “process” Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payment claims for individuals in exchange for a fee. Several SSI beneficiaries agreed to pay the defendant a fee to process the benefit payments.

After the benefit payments had been electronically deposited to the beneficiary’s electronic accounts, Arnold would contact the individuals by telephone and by text message to confirm receipt of the payment and to make arrangements to obtain his “processing fee.”

If convicted, Arnold faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on each extortion charge, and up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on each bribery charge. In addition, Arnold may be disqualified from holding any office of honor, trust or profit with the United States.

Investigators suspect that Arnold may have taken advantage of other individuals during his employment with the SSA. If anyone has any additional information, they are urged to contact the SSA Office of the Inspector General at 855-260-6353. This case is being investigated by the United States Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Leetra Harris is representing the government.

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The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated March 19, 2015