Experienced Fraudsters

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Bill and Deborah Lucas were already experienced fraudsters by the time the pandemic came around. For almost a decade, the duo claimed to be pastors of a defunct church called Jesus Survive Ministries. Using fake documents about their payroll, they were able to successfully take advantage of many fraudulent opportunities including applying for car loans which they had no intention of paying back.

Their routine was fully tested and successful by the time the U.S. Government established the CARES Act. So the Lucas team was ready. Within days of the enactment of the Coronavirus Aid Act, they applied for loans from multiple banks, using the same documents previously used regarding Jesus Survives Ministries. They also used new documents to support the fraudulent claim that the church had gross revenues of almost $1 million in 2019.

But what is most disturbing about our fraudsters were their interactions with the banks. When Bill Lucas became frustrated with bank employees’ failure to review and fund the loan applications quickly, he would send accusatory and intimidating text messages and emails; including, “This is war!!!!!” “I curse you, your bank and you[r] whole family,” and “You extremists think I am playing with you. You started a war and I guarantee you that you[‘re] not walking away unscathed.” Bill Lucas also posted a diatribe on the Jesus Survives Ministries website calling one of the banks, “Minions of Satan.” He sent a bank employee a photograph of the bank employee’s family, indicating Bill knew the names of the bank employee’s wife and son.

Despite his war cry, Bill didn’t get the hundreds of thousands of dollars he applied for in loans. Only one of the banks approved a PPP loan of $50,000 for Jesus Survives Ministries. Once they received the fraudulent proceeds, Deborah Lucas and Bill Lucas moved the money into another bank account and went on vacation to South Carolina using fraudulent proceeds.

Great job by the Homeland Security Investigations.

Today’s Fraud of the Day is based on an article “3 claiming to be defunct church’s pastors plead guilty of getting fraudulent loans, prosecutors say” published by ABC 13 Texas News on December 9, 2022

Three people accused of using the name of a defunct church to obtain fraudulent loans could be facing years in prison. Prosecutors said 60-year-old William Dexter Lucas, also known as Bill Lucas, and 64-year-old Deborah Jean Lucas, both of Bryan, Texas, pleaded guilty while 45-year-old Brian Corpian from Houston, entered his plea on Dec. 2.

All three admitted they claimed to be pastors of Jesus Survive Ministries, a defunct church, and used fake documents when applying for loans.

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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.