We’re On a Mission For Fraud

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Classic line from John Belushi, as “Joliet” Jake Blues, to his brother Elwood Blues, played by Dan Akroyd, in the 1980 movie Blues Brothers – “Well thank you pal! The day I get out of prison, my own brother picks me up in a police car.” Jake just was released from Joliet Jail in Illinois and Elwood was there in the prison parking lot with a police car recently purchased from auction. That scene not only sets the plot for the brothers, who then begin on “a mission from God” to prevent the foreclosure of the Roman Catholic orphanage they were raised in, but also begins the character development of the police car. Named the “Bluesmobile,” it is discovered the car has the ability to perform seemingly impossible stunts, such as jumping over an open drawbridge, flipping backwards in midair and even “flying” for very brief periods of time.

Wonder what car will pick up the inmates from Joilet Prison who used PPP loans to post bail and free themselves this summer? On September 21, 2022, Joliet police charged 25 people as part of an alleged fraud scheme to get Paycheck Protection Program checks, totaling upwards of $500,000, about $20,000 each.Paycheck Protection Program loans were made to small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic to keep their workforce employed. But for several recipients they were definitely not running businesses. They were inmates in Joilet Jail!

Investigators found that some of the defendants were inmates at the Will County Jail in Joliet, when they allegedly applied for and received loans through the pandemic program using jail phones to complete the fraudulent PPP loan process.  Those inmates then bonded out on their felony cases days after receiving their fraudulent PPP loan, according to authorities. Elwood and Jake would be proud!

A big shout out to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, who worked hard on this case.  A court date has yet to be announced.

Today’s Fraud of the Day is based on an article “Inmates got out of Illinois jail with pandemic loans” published by The Telegraph on September 22, 2022

More than two dozen people have been charged in Illinois with fraudulently obtaining pandemic relief money, with authorities alleging that some of them were behind bars when they used their relief money to post bond and free themselves from jail.

Joliet Police Chief William Evans said Wednesday that 25 people were part of the alleged fraud scheme to get Paycheck Protection Program checks while not operating actual businesses. Fifteen of the defendants had been arrested by Wednesday, and arrest warrants were pending for 10 other people. They all face charges including wire fraud, theft and loan fraud, officials said.

 

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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.