Crime

Feds say Social Security rep scammed thousands from clients. Then he shot a selfie.

A Charlotte Social Security representative was accused Tuesday of stealing tens of thousands of dollars in benefits from the rightful recipients.
A Charlotte Social Security representative was accused Tuesday of stealing tens of thousands of dollars in benefits from the rightful recipients. Observer file

Oliver Montgomery’s job was to help clients get their Social Security payments.

Instead, he stole them, a new court document said Tuesday – more than $37,000 in all.

An affidavit filed by one of the investigators in the case says Montgomery has been charged with theft of government money and aggravated identity theft.

He allegedly committed the crimes while on the taxpayers’ dole: Montgomery worked as a service representative in the Charlotte office of the Social Security Administration, the affidavit says.

Social Security fraud is a billion dollar industry – from false claims and continuing to collect payments after someone has died to forged Social Security cards and stolen numbers.

Montgomery’s scheme covered a 12-month period that ended August, during which he allegedly diverted tens of thousands of dollars from two Social Security beneficiaries, the affidavit says.

In one of the cases, Montgomery actually assisted his own investigation.

After threatening an ex-girlfriend who planned to take him to court over a previous debt, Montgomery shot her a text message with a selfie he’d taken at the Social Security office. In the photograph, Montgomery posed with a large amount of cash, the affidavit says.

“Show them that stack on my desk,” he told the former girlfriend in the text.

Instead, she eventually shared the text with federal officials, the affidavit says.

In the first case, federal officials say Montgomery diverted more than $12,000 in back payments due to an unidentified woman. He first fraudulently requested that the woman’s suspended Social Security benefits be reinstated, then went into her electronic file to change the listed mailing address and bank account.

While interviewing Montgomery’s co-workers about that case, investigators uncovered another questionable transaction – this one involving Montgomery’s interactions with the records of a one-time prison inmate, the affidavit says.

The man’s Social Security benefits had been suspended while he served his sentence, the affidavit says. He was released in January 2017.

Montgomery, though, hacked into the man’s account to show that he had been freed two years earlier – making the ex-prisoner eligible for a $27,000 back payment in Social Security benefits.

According to the affidavit, Montgomery enlisted an old high school friend to help him forge the necessary documents and reroute the money.

The friend received $2,000, the affidavit says, Montgomery got the rest – along with an upcoming date in federal court.

Michael Gordon: 704-358-5095, @MikeGordonOBS

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