Home Sweet Home – or Two

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House key on US currency.

Louisiana citizens can take advantage of a Homestead tax exemption for a home that’s their primary residence; accordingly, they must register and vote in the district in which that residence is located. In a confusing case of either homestead fraud—or perhaps voter registration fraud—the Rev. Donald Ray Henry was found to be voting in elections using a Donaldsville address, while claiming a homestead exemption and getting tax breaks for a residence in Gonzales. (Doesn’t one of the commandments have something to say about lying, Reverend?)

Henry was indicted in 2018 on felony charges of filing and maintaining false public records. Henry is thought to have used the Donaldsonville address in order to keep his position as vice chairman of the Southern University Board of Supervisors. The gubernatorially appointed board positions correspond with the state’s congressional districts. Henry’s seat represented the 2nd district, where he voted, while the home he claimed for tax purposes is in the 6th district.

In January 2020 Henry pleaded guilty to injuring public records. (Ah, so he can tell the truth!), He resigned his Southern University board position as part of his plea agreement. He has steadfastly refused to clarify where in Louisiana he actually lives… leaving the specific motivation of his fraud unresolved.

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a WBRZ Channel 2 news article, “Southern board member pleads guilty, resigns two years after WBRZ report,” published Jan. 15, 2020.

GONZALES- Southern University Board of Supervisors member Donald Ray Henry entered a guilty plea in court this week to injuring public records. As part of his plea agreement, he resigned from the Southern University Board of Supervisors.

Henry was the focus of a WBRZ Investigative Unit report back in May 2018, which showed he was claiming a homestead exemption on a home in Gonzales for years but was actually using a different address for where he received mail and was registered to vote. Four months later, a grand jury handed up an indictment against Henry for injuring public records tied to the fraud.

Additional information is from an Advocate article, “Southern board member charged with felony over dueling addresses on voter registration, tax docs,” published Sep. 17, 2018.

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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.