A federal employee at the Social Security Administration has been accused of wire and Social Security fraud as well as money laundering to steal approximately $310,601.44 from the agency.
According to the Justice Department, Justin Skiff of Castle Pines, CO used his position as a claims specialist with the agency to allegedly file fictious claims for benefits using false identities and the identity of an actual individual to collect proceeds from these claims.
According to CBS News in Colorado, Skiff is alleged to have created fake children’s identities to steal Social Security benefits of individuals who had actually passed away. The news outlet states:
Case documents allege Skiff’s thefts began in August of 2019 when, as an SSA employee, he processed the claims of Sloan Murphy and Jian Yang, two children who [sic] names and identities he made up and portrayed as children of “C.B.,” an actual deceased person.
Skiff received an initial $3,600 in back pay and more than $1,800 in monthly benefits thereafter on behalf of each child. The funds were sent to a bank account which Skiff controlled and drew funds from for personal use.
Skiff repeated the same actions – making up two children’s names of an actual deceased adult – in February 2020, July 2020, October 2020, and April 2021. The monthly payments increased incremently [sic]. Skiff was receiving $2,100 and $2,200 a month for the two fictitious children in the April 2021 claims.
Skiff’s initial court appearance was held on December 15, 2022. The charges at this point are just allegations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
If convicted, Skiff faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for wire fraud, up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for Social Security fraud, and up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine for money laundering. He would also be required to forfeit any property derived from proceeds traceable to the scheme.