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Date: 04-25-2023

Case Style:

United States of America v. Sashana James

Case Number: 2:21-cr-00209

Judge: John A. Mendez

Court: United States District Court for the Eastern District of California (Sacramento County)

Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office in Sacramento

Defendant's Attorney:

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Description: Sacramento, California criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charged with conspiracy to steal from the Social Security Administration.

Between October 2016 and June 2021, Sashana James, age 32, from New London, Connecticut, participated in a conspiracy to steal Social Security benefits intended for beneficiaries. The conspirators stole personally identifiable information (PII) of numerous Social Security beneficiaries living throughout the United States. The PII included the beneficiaries’ names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, phone numbers, bank account numbers, and family information. Using the PII, they contacted the Social Security Administration (SSA) customer service representatives and posed as beneficiaries. They then instructed the customer service representatives to change the direct deposit account number associated with the beneficiary’s account to drop accounts, i.e., expendable accounts used to funnel or transfer proceeds of a crime. The customer service representatives – believing that the caller was the true beneficiary – changed the direct deposit account number to one of the drop account numbers supplied.

The debit cards connected to the drop accounts would be mailed to James and other conspirators. On several occasions, James withdrew the stolen Social Security benefit payments from the drop accounts and deposited at least a portion of the money into one or more bank accounts that were accessible to her co-conspirators. The loss to the SSA and the United States resulting from the conspirators’ offenses exceeds $490,000.

This case was the product of an investigation by the SSA’s Office of the Inspector General and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Dhruv Sharma prosecuted the case.

Outcome: IMPRISONMENT: 1 year, 1 day; TSR: 24 months; S/A: $100.00, due immediately; FINE: waived; RESTITUTION: $490,485.86; RECOMMENDATION: Connecticut

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