Buffalo Man Indicted for Social Security Fraud
BUFFALO, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr., announced today that a federal grand jury has indicted Ari Elias Baum, 30, of Buffalo, N.Y., on charges of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits fraud, theft of government property, and making a material false statement. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank T. Pimentel, who is handling the case, stated that according to the indictment, Baum was out of the United States from March 22, 2013, through August 13, 2013. During that time, the defendant was wrongfully collecting SSI disability benefits. Baum failed to report his absence from the country as required, and during a redetermination interview conducted on December 19, 2013, the defendant stated that he had not been out of the country since March 1, 2013. Baum’s absence from the United States resulted in an overpayment of Social Security benefits totaling $4,277.23.
The indictment is the result of an investigation on the part of the United States Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Edward J. Ryan and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.