CAMDEN – A Social Security Administration employee recently admitted to accessing other individuals’ Social Security accounts and falsifying their records to steal funds for personal use, US Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
The employee is 37-year old Nicholas Pao of Egg Harbor Township. Pao plead guilty in Camden federal court on March 4 to one count of theft of government funds and two counts of aggravated identity theft.
According to facts made known in court, Pao was an employee of the Social Security Administration for 10 years. He worked as a claims technical expert in Egg Harbor Township, where he was responsible for determining eligibility and payment amounts, processing difficult cases, assisting in case reviews, and making special payment approvals.
The case against Pao revealed that between December 2014 and July 2018, Pao was using his SSA credentials to access other people’s confidential records without their knowledge.
“He altered their records and made fraudulent changes that caused the Social Security Administration to issue benefits to these individuals. Pao would then intercept these benefits, which were issued by way of a Direct Express account and credit card. Pao depleted the funds issued on the Direct Express accounts without the knowledge or consent of the individuals,” according to a release form the US Attorney’s office.
Through this practice, Pao stole nearly $100,000 in Social Security funds.
Pao faces up to 10 years in prison on theft of government funds charges and at least two years in prison for aggravated identity theft. Each of the counts is also punishable by a fine of up to $250,000, or twice the gain or loss caused by the offense, whichever is greatest.
Pao is scheduled to be sentenced on June 12.
Anyone who believes they have been the victim of Pao’s Social Security fraud scheme are urged to call the Office of the Inspector General at 888-487-9917.