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Dinner Conversation

Senior Director of Strategic Alliances
LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

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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