Latonja Goodrum, a former Social Security employee who used her position to steal benefits from disabled Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries, has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of theft of government funds.
“Disabled and low-income citizens rely on the safety net afforded by the Social Security Administration,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “Goodrum abused her position at the agency to unlawfully access and use sensitive and personal information to steal thousands of dollars from individuals in critical need of these funds.”
“Former SSA employee, Goodrum, admitted to inappropriately using information in SSA records to steal money from SSI recipients, seemingly without regard for their needs. Her actions were selfish and criminal,” said Gail S. Ennis, Inspector General for the Social Security Administration. “She misused her position of public trust with SSA and knowingly took money from individuals who rely on SSA employees for assistance in 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: From approximately June through August 2022, Goodrum, a claims specialist at the Social Security Administration’s field office in Decatur, Georgia, illegally accessed the records of six SSI beneficiaries. Goodrum then used the personal identifying information of these individuals to divert one-time lump sum payments they were due to her own PayPal account. Once the funds were deposited into her PayPal account, Goodrum transferred the money to a personal bank account.
To conceal her scheme, Goodrum, once the deposits arrived in her PayPal account, re-accessed the beneficiaries’ Social Security records to restore their true direct deposit banking information. Goodrum stole more than $15,000 in this way. A supervisor eventually detected the fraud and contacted the Social Security Administration – Office of the Inspector General, which launched an investigation. Goodrum admitted her crime when confronted by law enforcement and has since been terminated from her position.
Sentencing for Goodrum, 55, of Stone Mountain, Georgia, is scheduled for January 22, 2024, at 10:00 am before U.S. District Judge Steven D. Grimberg.
This case is being investigated by the Social Security Administration – Office of the Inspector General.
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane C. Schulman is prosecuting the case.