Mother-Daughter Duo

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

Fraud rings are usually well-organized groups of deceptive individuals who intend to take advantage of other people, charities, businesses, or government agencies for their own selfish gain. A well-organized fraud ring in Nigeria somehow convinced two women from Fort Branch, Ind., to join in on exploiting the COVID-19 crisis. (It was all fun and games until the mother and daughter duo got caught for committing unemployment insurance fraud. It would be interesting to know which one thought this was a good idea in the first place.)

Andrea Renee Pytlinski, 40, and Rose Ann Azzarello, 61, both worked for the foreign fraud ring, which targeted state unemployment insurance programs. (These two had their cross hairs set on Washington State.) For over a year, Pytlinski and Azzarello participated in a wire fraud scheme that involved receiving and sending $95,000 in fraudulent funds via wire and common courier. (Not a bad income for filling out lots of paperwork.)

After the ill-gotten funds were deposited into their bank accounts located in Indiana, the mother-daughter duo withdrew the funds immediately to avoid detection. (At least they thought they had not been detected.)

A portion of the funds was transmitted to a third-party (obviously connected to the Nigerian fraud ring), while they retained their own cut of the stolen benefits. Meanwhile, the Main Bank in Evansville contacted the local police department with their suspicions regarding the duo’s bank account transactions.

Pytlinski and Azzarello were both arrested and charged with wire fraud in July 2020. Pytlinski was sentenced to 18 months in prison and must serve 3 years of supervised release. Azzarello was sentenced to 4 years of supervised release. (It must have been the daughter who convinced her mom to become a fraudster since the daughter got prison time.) Daughter and Mom were also ordered to pay $27,522 each in restitution. (I predict that this mother-daughter relationship will be strained for some time to come.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a Department of Justice press release, “Fort Branch Mother and Daughter Sentenced in COVID-19 Fraud Case,” dated October 28, 2021.

EVANSVILLE – Two Fort Branch, Indiana women have been sentenced in connection with a well-organized Nigerian fraud ring exploiting the COVID-19 crisis to commit large-scale fraud against state unemployment insurance programs.

Andrea Renee Pytlinski, 40, and Rose Ann Azzarello, 61, both of Fort Branch were arrested and charged with wire fraud in July 2020. Azzarello is the mother of Pytlinski. Pytlinski was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, must serve 3 years of supervised release following her incarceration, and ordered to pay $27,522 in restitution. Azzarello was sentenced to 4 years of supervised release and ordered to pay $27,522 in restitution.

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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.