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SSI Benefits Claims Representative Charged With Federal Crimes

Posted on Oct 22, 2013

An SSI benefits claims representative behavior prompted federal charges after he allegedly imposed a fee to applicants to process their Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims.

Indicted by a federal grand jury, 42-year-old Montrell Levelle Arnold from Memphis, Tennessee was charged with two counts of extortion and two counts of bribery.

The indictment said that several SSI beneficiaries had agreed to pay Arnold to process their claims. Once the SSI benefits were paid to the beneficiaries and electronically deposited into their bank accounts, Arnold reportedly contacted the beneficiaries via telephone and text message to request and confirm payments for the processing fee.

Although only charged with two counts of extortion and two counts of bribery, officials from the U.S. Attorney’s office said that it is believed that Arnold may have made more SSI beneficiaries victims of his fraudulent processing fee during his time with the agency. They are asking that anyone with information contact the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General at 855-260-6353.

If convicted, Arnold may spend up to 20 years in prison. He also faces $250,000 in fines for each extortion charge, and as many as 15 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for each bribery charge.

For a Massachusetts SSI attorney, hearing stories such as these where innocent recipients are taken advantage of in this manner is heartbreaking. Beneficiaries deserve to be treated with respect and have their application approved in a lawful manner. Not doing so takes away from other beneficiaries and causes unfair advantages and disadvantages in the system.

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John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney of Keefe Disability Law