A Salute

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Social Security cards with cash and benefit amount numbers

The Department of Defense Military Retirement Fund disburses disability retirement benefits and survivor benefits to military members and their spouses and families following their retirement from active duty and the reserves. Two Sapulpa, Oklahoma siblings took advantage of that government program and also committed Social Security fraud by keeping several hundred thousand dollars of benefits that were intended for their mother.

The two sisters, who were old enough to know better (66 and 63-years old), failed to notify the two government benefit programs of their mother’s death in 2000. Before passing away, their mother had received the death benefit payments from the Military Retirement Fund due to her deceased husband’s prior military service. (The sisters knew that if they did not notify authorities following their mother’s death, they would continue to receive the steady income from Social Security and the Military Retirement Fund.)

The two daughters from Sapulpa, Oklahoma pleaded guilty to Social Security fraud.

Altogether, the two siblings illegally siphoned off $224,237 in Social Security income and $129,765 in military retirement funds. (That’s more than $350,000 in government benefits they did not deserve.) When sentenced at the end of this year, they are subject to a criminal forfeiture money judgement in the amount of $354,002.

It’s probably a good idea that the parents of these two siblings are no longer alive to see what has become of their progeny. (I’m sure they would not be proud of them at all.) Here’s a salute to the deceased servicemember for his service to the nation and also to the fraud investigators who identified this criminal case and successfully prosecuted the two women who were intent on defrauding the government.

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article, Two Women Enter Pleas in Social Security Fraud Case,” published by Public Radio Tulsa on September 5, 2019.

Two Sapulpa women pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court to illegally taking more than $350,000 in Social Security and military retirement benefits that were meant for their mother, announced U.S. Attorney Trent Shores.

Patricia Lee Kendall, 66, and Peggy Lee Larue, 63, both of Sapulpa, pleaded guilty to two-counts of aiding and abetting each other to illegally take and conceal government property in the form of money from both the Social Security Administration and the Department of Defense Military Retirement Fund. The women admitted in court that they failed to notify authorities of their mother’s death in December 2000. Previously, their mother had received the death benefit payments as a result of her husband’s military service.  After their mother passed away, the payments should have ceased.

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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.