Photo: Disability fraud
Seventy people, including several doctors and a former federal employee, were arrested Wednesday in Puerto Rico for alleged fraud to obtain disability payments under Social Security.
The U.S. Attorney in San Juan, Rosa Emilia Rodriguez, told a press conference that the group is accused of defrauding Social Security for around $6 million.
Investigators said the ringleader is a former Social Security employee, Samuel Torres Crespo, who received more than $3 million by processing disability claims based on false information.
Authorities said that Torres Crespo referred the arrested beneficiaries to physiatrist Wildo Vargas and to psychiatrists Erica Rivera Castro and Rafael Miguez Balseiro, who allegedly invented physical and mental health conditions for the applicants so that they could request disability benefits.
Torres Crespo retroactively collected 25 percent of the sum that Social Security paid out to each beneficiary, and the doctors collected between $150 and $500 for the medical reports, authorities say.
Rodriguez said that Puerto Rico is one of the U.S. territories with the most claims for Social Security disability benefits.