A former Social Security claims specialist was sentenced to four years in prison for collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent benefits.
Anne Aroste, 42, of Montgomery, pleaded guilty last year to charges of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois.
“In committing this crime, Aroste betrayed the public trust and stole from a program designed to assist the most vulnerable members of our community,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared C. Jodrey wrote in the government’s sentencing memorandum.
She worked in the U.S. Social Security Administration’s Aurora field office processing applications for benefits through the agency’s electronic records system, prosecutors said.
From 2013 to 2018, Aroste used earnings records for deceased workers to apply for benefits, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. She used her credentials to approve the applications, routing $732,382 to her own bank accounts and using the money to make mortgage and credit card payments. She also bought a 2015 Mercedes-Benz SUV as well as clothes, groceries, jewelry and cosmetics.
U.S. District Judge Manish S. Shah handed down the sentence Friday during a hearing in Chicago, prosecutors said.