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The horrors of the story out of Philadelphia, of the gang who imprisoned and tortured developmentally disabled people in dungeons in order to collect their SSI checks, just keep coming and coming. It could encompass as many as 50 victims over 5 states, and past deaths. See here, here, here and here for some reporting on it, if you can stomach it.
Then here's another kick in the stomach:
....Weston was legally disqualified from cashing the victims' government disability checks because of her criminal past.
But she apparently did anyway, enabled in part by a lack of accountability and follow-through by government agencies and police.....
Weston had been convicted in the starvation death of a man nearly 30 years ago, though it's unclear how much prison time she served.
The Social Security Protection Act of 2004 generally bars people who have been imprisoned for more than a year from becoming representative payees, those who cash someone else's check. Yet a 2010 report by Social Security's watchdog found that staff members do not perform background checks to determine if payees have criminal records.
The report from the Social Security Administration's Office of the Inspector General said that people who apply to become payees are supposed to answer a question on whether they've ever been convicted of an offense and imprisoned for more than a year. But the report noted that the agency recognizes that self-reporting of such information "is not always reliable."
The inspector general said that in the cases it reviewed, about 6 percent of non-relative payees had been imprisoned for longer than a year and "may pose a risk to the beneficiaries they serve."
A Social Security spokesman declined to provide details of the agency's investigation into Weston but said the agency recently strengthened oversight of payees.
from 2 more teens under protection in Pa. basement case, by Maryclaire Dale, Associated Press, October 19, 2011