Suspected Social Security fraud nearly doubled in recent years - KCTV5

Suspected Social Security fraud nearly doubled in recent years

Posted: Updated:
The amount of tips for suspected Social Security fraud in the Kansas City area has almost doubled in recent years, according to the Social Security Administration's Office of the Inspector General. The amount of tips for suspected Social Security fraud in the Kansas City area has almost doubled in recent years, according to the Social Security Administration's Office of the Inspector General.
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

The amount of tips for suspected Social Security fraud in the Kansas City area has almost doubled in recent years, according to the Social Security Administration's Office of the Inspector General.

"There's too much that we can't prosecute them all, but that is also a resource issue for the US attorney's office," special agent-in-charge Troy Turk said. "We understand that as well, with us it's a resource issue, we can't investigate every allegation."

Turk oversees 18 agents in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. 

Last year, the office received more than 3,200 tips of possible fraud. Agents investigated 600 cases, and the United States Attorney's Office prosecuted 90 of them.

"Even if we can get that individual off the benefits, it's a positive action, that way they are not stealing the money anymore, and the money can go back into the trust fund," said Turk.

The Social Security Administration's Office of the Inspector General provided KCTV5 News with copies of their undercover video shot by agents out in the field.

In one piece of video, agents watched a woman who applied for Social Security disability alleging she had restrictions in physical activities including lifting, bending and squatting. The video shows with some help the woman lifting a motorized wheelchair into the back of a van.

Agents also provided KCTV5 with a piece of video that shows a man who applied for disability due to neck and back pain, and problems with his arm and hand. The tip for investigators about this man came from within the Social Security office.

Agents observed the man use a cane and walk with a noticeable limp as he walked through a parking lot. The video later shows the man walking without a cane nor a limp.

In April, the man in the video was denied benefits, he entered a pretrial diversion agreement with the government. Social Security said he was placed on probation for 18 months for making false statements.

The Office of the Inspector General issued a special report, The Social Security Administration's Ability to Prevent and Detect Disability Fraud, in September. 

According to the report, "the agency's outdated and unintegrated systems and policies have not been able to prevent or easily identify widespread fraud schemes."

The Office of the Inspector General told KCTV5 that less than 1 percent of fraud comes from within the Social Security Administration.

Mary Francis Taylor, 54, of Kansas City, MO, pleaded guilty in federal court that she illegally accessed personal identification information as part of a nearly $10,000 fraud scheme to steal from the government.

Taylor worked as a teleservice technician in the Social Security Administration in downtown Kansas City until she resigned in January.

The scheme was hatched after Taylor says she found the victim's personal documents on a city bus in August 2013.

Taylor admitted along with those papers and her insider access with the agency, she was then able to get benefit put into her account.

Court papers say she used the money to pay off her account at rent-to-own store, her mortgage, utilities and car loan.

"Mary ... how are you?" asked KCTV5 investigative reporter Eric Chaloux outside a Kansas City home.

"I wanted to talk to you about the Social Security fraud," questioned Chaloux. "Anything you want to say Mary?"

The door was closed in Chaloux's face.

"I'll leave my card in the mailbox in case you change your mind and want to talk," said Chaloux through a closed door.

The Government Accounting Office estimates the Social Security Administration made $1.29 billion in cash benefit overpayments in a recent three year period.

To crackdown on fraud, the agency added three new fraud prevention units in the country, including one in Kansas City. The units review and identify suspicious disability claims. If they detect suspicious activity, the case will be sent to the Office of the Inspector General.

The Stop Disability Fraud Act of 2014 is making its way through Congress. If passed the Act says it could give the Social Security Administration more tools to battle fraud including changes to outdated program rules and policies.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • 2 dead, one hurt after incident in Kensington Park in KCK

    2 dead, one hurt after incident in Kensington Park in KCK

    Wednesday, September 20 2017 10:05 PM EDT2017-09-21 02:05:16 GMT
    (KCTV5)(KCTV5)

    Two people were found dead in the parking lot of Kensington Park in KCK. 

    More >

    Two people were found dead in the parking lot of Kensington Park in KCK. 

    More >
  • Young girl hospitalized by 105 mph foul at Yankee Stadium

    Young girl hospitalized by 105 mph foul at Yankee Stadium

    Thursday, September 21 2017 3:14 PM EDT2017-09-21 19:14:05 GMT

    A young girl at Yankee Stadium was injured by a foul ball off the bat of Todd Frazier during a game against Minnesota, leading some New York players to call for protective netting to be extended.

    More >

    A young girl at Yankee Stadium was injured by a foul ball off the bat of Todd Frazier during a game against Minnesota, leading some New York players to call for protective netting to be extended.

    More >
  • Lenexa cyclists upset after new city ordinance calls bikes a 'Nuisance'

    Lenexa cyclists upset after new city ordinance calls bikes a 'Nuisance'

    Thursday, September 21 2017 11:54 AM EDT2017-09-21 15:54:55 GMT
    A new ordinance says cyclists in the city now have to walk their bike when near the city center, city hall, the parking garage and the rec center.. (KCTV5)A new ordinance says cyclists in the city now have to walk their bike when near the city center, city hall, the parking garage and the rec center.. (KCTV5)

    Lenexa leaders say they are trying to make the city more bike friendly, but they ran into a roadblock. A new ordinance says cyclists in the city now have to walk their bike when near the city center, city hall, the parking garage and the rec center.

    More >

    Lenexa leaders say they are trying to make the city more bike friendly, but they ran into a roadblock. A new ordinance says cyclists in the city now have to walk their bike when near the city center, city hall, the parking garage and the rec center.

    More >
Powered by Frankly
KCTV 5 News

Online Public File:
KCTV  KSMO

Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2017, KCTV; Kansas City, MO. (A Meredith Corporation Station) . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.