Cordell Fleming pleaded guilty today in federal court to extorting money from individuals due Social Security benefits.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office reports that Flemming extorted at least nine social security beneficiaries by promising “expedited” Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments during his time working as a claims representative for the Social Security Administration.
“As part of his duties, he processed requests for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments for eligible individuals,” the claim from U.S. Attorney Sally Yates said. “However, Fleming offered to ‘expedite’ the processing time of SSI payments to SSI beneficiaries and SSI beneficiary payees in exchange for a fee.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: In an attempt to make the expedited SSI payments appear legitimate, Fleming frequently created false documents that purportedly justified the expedited disbursement of SSI payments. During the course of the scheme, from October 2012 to April 2013, Fleming extorted and attempted to extort money (in amounts ranging from approximately $500 to $1,800) from at least nine SSI beneficiaries or their representative payees.
“A federal employee, in a position of public trust, preying on the disabled and the indigent shocks the conscience,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “This defendant extorted money from needy, disabled members of our community by promising them expedited Social Security payments in return.”
Fleming, 46, of Conyers, Ga., was charged on August 14 with one count of extortion and he pleaded guilty to this count Tuesday. He has yet to be sentenced. Fleming could receive a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentence, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.
Sentencing is scheduled for November 14, at 11:30 a.m.
Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey W. Davis and Special Assistant United States Attorney Diane C. Schulman are prosecuting the case.