NEW BERN, N,C. (AP) — A federal judge has sentenced a North Carolina woman to more than five years in prison for using Social Security Administration position to direct benefits into nine separate bank accounts that she had access to.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Bern said Stephanie Chavis, 45, of Saint Pauls was also ordered to pay almost $761,000 in restitution. Chavis was ordered to begin serving her sentence no sooner than Jan. 3, 2022, according to a news release. She pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in April 2019.
Prosecutors said Chavis used her credentials as an operations supervisor at the Fayetteville office of the Social Security Administration to access the accounts of more than 60 people and used the information to generate fraudulent payment requests.
After creating the requests, the news release said, Chavis gave information for depositing the money to unwitting claims representatives and asked them to create approximately 100 fake payment requests. After that, Chavis either approved them herself or asked other administration employees to process the approvals. From there, the stolen funds went into bank accounts under Chavis’s control, authorities said.
The sentence was handed down on Monday, the news release said.