Dinner Conversation

Male hands counting dollars, black salary, money laundering, illegal business, stock footage

Few victims are more helpless in identity theft than children. After all, it can be years before a grown child needs to use any personal identification. More often than not, it is the parent who is doing the stealing. Despicable, yes. But easy to do. Parents don’t have to work to steal their child’s identity. They already have the key information: name, address, birthdate, and Social Security number. Why do some parents do this? Who knows. But parents who can no longer borrow on their own merits, have children with blank credit histories. And that is priceless for a fraudster. Using the kids’ identities to run up bad debts eventually will cost the children dearly, but thieves aren’t typically known for long-term thinking skills. Eventually, the child is going to find out what dear old mom or dad did. This won’t make for the best holiday dinner conversation.

Between January 2018 and June 2020, Chanita Richardson assumed the identity of her son without his knowledge or permission in order to secure student loans for her benefit. No word if Chinita’s son knew that he was enrolled in school, but one thing is clear. Chinita knew how easy student loan fraud is. Why is it so easy to get student loans? Because the government guarantees most student loans, unlike business loans. Banks have to worry about whether the business will pay the loan back. For student loans, however, they always get their money back – either from the student, a co-signer, or from the government if all such people die first. And some may even play dead to avoid repayment!

Then came the pandemic! Gaining confidence in her abilities and realizing how easy fraud can be, Richardson proceeded to defraud the COVID-19 CARES Act Payroll Protection Program loan. To obtain the loan, Richardson falsely reported the monthly payroll expenses of her supposed business (a student loan fraud business?). The money Richardson received from both loans was used for personal purchases and not for legitimate business purposes.

Shout out to the Internal Revenue Service with this investigation. Who knows what the next fraud scheme Richardson would have targeted.

Today’s Fraud Of The Day is based on article “Prince George’s Co. woman convicted of stealing son’s identity and COVID-19 loan fraud” published by the Pasadena Star News on April 21, 2023

A judge has ordered a Maryland woman to pay more than $270,000 in restitution after she pleaded guilty to stealing her son’s identity and fraudulently obtaining COVID-19 loans in 2020.

According to the office of Maryland Attorney General Anthony G. Brown, 58-year-old Chinita Richardson pleaded guilty to multiple charges Friday.

For more than two years, Richardson used her biological son’s identity without his knowledge or consent in order to secure student loans for herself starting in Jan. 2018.

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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.