Description: Providence, RI - Cranston Man Admits to Social Security Fraud, Opioid Trafficking Charge
A Cranston, R.I. man admitted to collecting thousands of dollars in Social Security Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to which he was not entitled, and attempting to possess a significant quantity of Oxycodone pills with the intent of selling the pills to others.
Raymond Walker, 47, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count each of Social Security fraud and attempt to possess with the intent to distribute Oxycodone, announced United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch, Special Agent in Charge of the Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA-OCI) Jeffrey J. Ebersole, and Scott E. Antolik, Special Agent in Charge of the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG).
According to information presented to the Court, Walker received $500 monthly Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. SSI is meant to assist aged, blind, and disabled people who have little to no income. To be eligible, one has to be disabled, unable to engage in substantial gainful activity, and have limited income and resources.
The Social Security Administration takes into account a claimant’s resources and allows an individual to hold up to $2,000 worth of resources. “Income” includes money a claimant receives from work and other sources, such as friends and relatives. The claimant must notify the Social Security Administration of any significant changes in conditions affecting the receipt of benefits, to include work activity, as either an employee or self-employed individual.
According to information presented to the Court, on September 8, 2017, Walker was interviewed by a SSA claims specialist and informed the claims specialist that since July 2015 his only resource was a 1988 vehicle and a bank account with no more than $200 in it at any time. He told the interviewer that he received approximately $200 per month from family members to assist with personal expenses.
However, an investigation by FDA-OCI, SSA-OIG and the United States Attorney’s Office determined that between December 2013 and July 2017, $306,435 was deposited into Walker’s bank account. It was also determined that he owned a 2016 Audi.
As part of the investigation, on October 4, 2017, at the direction of FDA-OCI agents, a cooperating witness met the defendant at his mother’s house in Providence and sold the defendant 2 bottles containing 168 30 mg Oxycodone pills for $5,000. Upon receiving the pills, the defendant emptied the prescription bottles into a bottle of his own. The defendant did not have all the money at once and asked the cooperating witness to return later to receive full payment. When the cooperating witness returned, approximately an hour and a half later, the defendant informed the individual he had already received complaints regarding the strength of the pills.
Indeed, in that hour and a half, agents observed the defendant’s mother’s home and saw numerous individuals stopping in front of the house and engaging with the defendant to purchase the pills.
Walker is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith on October 26, 2018. Social Security Fraud is punishable by statutory penalties of up to 5 years in federal prison, 3 years supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000. Attempt to possess with the intent to distribute Oxycodone is punishable by statutory penalties of up to 20 years in federal prison, 3 years supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.