Social Security employee suspected of forging checks

May 04, 2000|By Nancy A. Youssef | Nancy A. Youssef,SUN STAFF

Police have arrested a 42-year-old Social Security Administration employee after investigating claims that she forged $15,000 in checks written to the agency and placed them into her bank account, Baltimore County police said.

Authorities said the investigation is continuing and might involve more than $50,000 in checks. Police had not released the woman's name as of last night, saying she had not been formally charged. She was being held at the North Point Precinct, police said.

The woman was taken into custody at her rowhouse in the 200 block of Murdock Road in Rodgers Forge. Officers searched the home and found shopping bags from several stores.

Many of the items -- from stores such as Marshalls and Bed Bath and Beyond -- had tags on them. Police filled a truck with the items as possible evidence against her.

The arrest was part of a joint investigation that also included the Social Security Administration's Inspector General's Office and the U.S. Postal Service.

The probe began about three months ago when someone called the administration to complain that he received a bill for a payment he had made to the agency. Officials from the agency's Inspector General's Office called police.

The suspect, a 20-year veteran of the administration in Woodlawn, worked as a finance clerk. Part of her job was in the mailroom, which receives checks from the public to pay for government forms or to return overpayments.

Police believe that in January, someone began taking checks written to the administration and altering them to make them payable to her.

The checks ranged in value from $9 to $700, said Sgt. Robert Derbyshire, of Baltimore County's Economic Crimes Section. On some checks, the ink was erased, he said.

After subpoenaing the woman's bank account, officials determined that the checks were being deposited in her account and that she was "spending an unusual amount on clothing and house items," Derbyshire said.

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