The following activities are punishable as misdemeanors by a fine of up to $5,000:
Willful disclosure of agency records by employees in violation of the PA;
Willful maintenance of a system of records by agency employees without meeting the
notice requirements of the PA; and
Willfully and knowingly obtaining another person's record from an agency under false
Since the U.S. would be the prosecuting party, SSA cannot pay fines or legal fees
and neither OGC nor DOJ can provide legal representation for an employee accused of
For the purpose of this instruction, DDS employees are considered to be agency employees
under the PA.
Individuals cannot bring criminal actions against agency employees or agents for alleged
violations of the PA. An individual instead must convince the Department of Justice
(DOJ) that an employee “willfully and knowingly” disclosed information contrary to the PA. If convinced, the DOJ may prosecute.