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Social Security Administration employee produced illicit IDs

A Social Security Administration employee in California has said she is guilty of making identification cards for more than 25 people who had no right to them, said the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Rachel Ochoa, 66, who had worked for the SSA for almost 30 years in the administration’s San Jose office, pleaded guilty in federal court on April 18 to illegally producing Social Security cards, said the agency. 

She admitted to issuing Social Security numbers and cards to more than 25 individuals she knew did not have a legal right to them, it said. The FBI’s affidavit said the individuals paid between $2,500 and $5,000 for the cards. It also said one illegal immigrant purchased a card after asking an individual at a local market about obtaining a card, ultimately paying $5,000 and receiving a card issued by Ochoa in the mail a year later.

Ochoa worked as a claims development clerk at the SSA office, where she was responsible for processing and issuing new Social Security numbers and cards. As part of her plea, Ms. Ochoa admitted to issuing the numbers and cards without requiring applicants to present proper documentation.

Charges were brought against Ochoa by a federal grand jury last November and charged with one count of unlawful production of an identification document and one count of theft of government property. Under the plea agreement, Ms. Ochoa pled guilty to one count of unlawful production of an identification document, according to the FBI.

Ochoa, who is currently free on bond, is scheduled to be sentenced on July 18, when she could be sentenced to five years in prison and fined up to $250,000. However, the FBI indicated Ochoa’s sentence would adhere tightly to federal guidelines that allow for some discretion.

 

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