BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A federal grand jury has indicted a Baltimore man on federal charges in connection with a scheme in which he allegedly filed fraudulent claims for Social Security benefits using fake identities, and the identities of others, to collect over $236,000.
Cheikh Ahmet Tidiane Cisse, 43, of Baltimore, was employed by the Social Security Administration (SSA) as a Claims Specialist.READ MORE: Vacant Building Partially Collapses In Baltimore
The 14-count 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 licenses, when he had not.
In one instance, when the SSA withheld payment due to suspected fraud, Cisse allegedly 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.READ MORE: Naval Academy Midshipman Injured In Small Plane Crash In Easton
Cisse also 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 the 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 the 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.MORE NEWS: Unemployed Workers Union File Class Action Lawsuit To Prevent End Of Federal Benefits