Vigorous Fraud

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This summer when Tequisha Solomon claimed her innocence to charges of COVID-19 pandemic funds fraud, her lawyer Will Walker said Solomon “maintains her innocence and we’re hoping to have a very vigorous trial.” Six months later it seems the only thing vigorous was Solomon’s fraud. On December 13, 2022, Solomon pleaded guilty to a scheme to steal over $4 million in pandemic assistance money from various states including Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

Solomon first started her scheme while living in Nevada when she fraudulently filed for and received unemployment benefits from the California Employment Development Department. She then moved to Minnesota in October of 2020, and while continuing to fraud the California EDD, she filed for and received unemployment benefits from the Illinois Department of Employment Security.  Shortly afterwards, in March of 2021, Solomon fraudulently applied for unemployment from Minnesota’s DEED concealing her fraudulent receipts of unemployment benefits from California and Illinois. Of course! Fraudsters don’t come clean in order to commit more fraud!

Actually, Solomon did have work.  Her work was filing fraudulent benefits for others. Solomon accepted fees of around $2,000 each to file at least 200 COVID-19 benefits applications, including one on behalf of a Minnesota prison inmate. In total, Solomon’s actions caused at least $4.2 million in fraudulent benefits to be paid out through the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans and state and federal unemployment programs.

Great job by the FBI and the US. Department of Labor in this complex investigation.

Today’s Fraud of The Day is based on an article “Major covid fraud scheme involving Minnesota“ published by Rochester News on December 13, 2022

A Las Vegas woman has entered a guilty plea to a federal charge connected to a major COVID pandemic relief fraud scheme involving Minnesota. According to federal prosecutors, 39-year-old Tequisha Solomon fraudulently applied for more than $7.1 million in pandemic-related assistance that caused the US government and multiple state agencies to pay out more than $4.7 million in benefits.

US Attorney for Minnesota Andrew Luger says much of the fraud involved unlawful applications for COVID pandemic unemployment insurance benefits in multiple states, including Minnesota.A news release says Solomon also assisted other people to apply for COVID-related benefits, charging them fees of up to $2000. It was alleged that she submitted over 200 Falls and fraudulent applications for unemployment benefits on behalf of other people.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.