General Crime

* Rachel Ochoa of San Jose pleaded guilty of creating fraudulent Social Security cards

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A former U.S. Social Security Administration clerk has pleaded guilty in federal court in San Jose to a charge of creating fraudulent Social Security cards.Rachel Ochoa, 66, of San Jose, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge James Ware on Monday to one count of unlawful production of a federal identification document.U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said Ochoa admitted during the plea to issuing Social Security numbers and cards to more than 25 people who were not entitled to them.

Ochoa, a 29-year employee, worked in the agency’s San Jose office as a claims development clerk, with duties that included processing and issuing new Social Security numbers and cards.Ochoa will be sentenced by Ware on July 18. The conviction carries a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison.

As part of the plea bargain, prosecutors agreed to drop a second charge in which Ochoa was accused of theft of government property in the form of Social Security cards. Ochoa was indicted on the two charges in November.An FBI affidavit filed in the case last fall alleged that people who wanted cards paid middlemen amounts ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 to obtain the fraudulent cards.

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