Anderson Social Security Administration worker guilty of wire fraud

Apr. 25—ANDERSON — A Social Security Administration claims specialist who worked in Anderson has entered a guilty plea to one count of wire fraud for being involved in a ghost employment scheme, according to federal filings.

Christopher J. Markham, who lives in Westfield, could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the amount he gained from the scheme, which came to $49,255.97.

He signed a plea agreement and is awaiting further judicial action. The plea agreement states he will be required to pay $100 at the time of sentencing and pay $42,256 to the Social Security Administration.

Markham made it appear he worked full-time for the SSA, being paid a full annual salary of at least $73,000, when he was earning income from Markham Inspection Services, his personal home inspection firm, according to the filing.

He conducted 70 home inspections while on emergency paid leave.

At times, according to the court document, Markham would have his wife or mother access the computer system to make it appear has was working. He also sent emails to his supervisor to make it appear he was at work.

On Feb. 13, 2019, he stated on an official SSA form that his residential home inspection work would be performed only on weekends. The form was approved by an SSA official.

A year later, he provided a corrected statement about his firm but failed to state that the inspection work would only be on weekends, according to the indictment filed by Zachary A. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the South District of Indiana.

The indictment states, "Markham concealed the fact that he was not performing SSA work during official work hours by, among other things, having his wife and his mother access the SSA computer system to make it appear as though he was working. Markham also sent emails to his supervisor to make it appear as though he was working."

As a result, SSA co-workers were required to complete his tasks.

Markham reportedly submitted 53 time card reports totaling $27,842.91, which was paid by the SSA.

He also filed for emergency paid leave, stating he had to stay home to care for his children when in reality they were in daycare and Markham performed at least 90 home inspections, according to the indictment.

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