ATLANTA – Latonja Goodrum, a former Social Security employee who used her position to steal benefits from disabled SSI recipients, has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of stealing government funds.
“Disabled and low-income citizens rely on the safety net of the Social Security Administration,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “Goodrum abused her position at the agency to unlawfully access and use confidential and personal information to steal thousands of dollars from individuals in dire need of these funds.”
“Former SSA employee Goodrum admitted to improperly using information in SSA records to steal money from SSI recipients, seemingly without regard to their needs. “Your actions were selfish and criminal,” said Gail S. Ennis, inspector general for the Social Security Administration. “She abused her position of public trust with SSA and knowingly accepted money from individuals who depended on the support of SSA employees at critical times. My office will continue to investigate those who violate SSA programs and operations. I thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane C. Schulman for prosecuting this case.”
According to U.S. Attorney Buchanan, the charges and other information presented in court are: From approximately June to August 2022, Goodrum, a claims specialist at the Social Security Administration field office in Decatur, Georgia, illegally accessed the records of six SSI beneficiaries. Goodrum then used these individuals’ personal identification information to redirect the one-time lump sum payments owed to them to their own PayPal account. Once the money was deposited into her PayPal account, Goodrum transferred the money to a personal bank account.
To conceal her scheme, once the deposits were deposited into her PayPal account, Goodrum again accessed the beneficiaries’ Social Security records to recover their true direct deposit banking information. Goodrum stole more than $15,000 this way. A supervisor eventually discovered the fraud and contacted the Social Security Administration – Office of Inspector General, which began an investigation. Goodrum admitted her crime when confronted by law enforcement and has since been removed from her position.
Sentencing for Goodrum, 55, of Stone Mountain, Georgia, is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. January 22, 2024, before U.S. District Judge Steven D. Grimberg.
This case is being investigated by the Social Security Administration – Office of Inspector General.
Special Assistant United States Attorney Diane C. Schulman is prosecuting the case.
For further information, please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Public Affairs at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.