Trouble on the Tarmac

356

Airport transportation security officers are responsible for inspecting passengers and their baggage, plus equipment and cargo to make sure that government guidelines established by the Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration are met. The job, which often requires weekend, evening and holiday work, puts these security personnel in situations where they must lift heavy items, conduct pat-down searches and deal with unhappy passengers. (It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.) A former transportation security officer at a Cape Cod, Massachusetts municipal airport committed workers’ compensation fraud when he didn’t own up to running another business on the side, while collecting government benefits for an on-the-job injury.

Today’s fraudster was employed as a transportation security officer at the Cape Cod airport for nine years until he claimed a workplace injury rendered him unable to work, imposing severe limitations on his physical activities. He qualified for and began to receive workers’ compensation benefits. (That’s when his fraud scheme took off.)

About four years later, the former transportation security officer started providing lawn irrigation services in exchange for cash. (That’s so his illegal earnings could fly under the government’s radar.) Ironically, while working this extra job, he engaged in the physical activities he claimed he could not. He also lied on a Department of Labor form stating he didn’t earn any other income other than his disability benefits. (That’s when he began to experience some turbulence.)

The former security officer’s approach to fraud caused him to have a rough landing at the Cape Cod airport. The 76-year-old man pleaded guilty to workers’ compensation fraud. (Over one year, the former transportation security officer received $38,052 in federal benefits he did not deserve.) He was sentenced to six months of probation and ordered to pay $38,052 in restitution to the Department of Labor for lying about his situation.

This fraudster thought he was walking down the jetway to freedom when he started scamming the government. (After all, why not have the government to send you free money without having to do anything in return.) Fortunately, his plane didn’t get up to cruising altitude before the tower directed him to land the plane. His trip was cut short and now his retirement years are going to be a little different than originally planned.

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, Former Cape Cod TSA worker sentenced in workers’ comp fraud case,” posted on CapeCod.com on September 18, 2017.

BOSTON – A former Transportation Security Officer from Cape Cod pleaded guilty and was sentenced last week in federal court in Boston to fraudulently obtaining over $30,000 in workers’ compensation.

Richard A. Mariani, 76, of West Dennis, pleaded guilty to one count of fraud in obtaining federal employee compensation and was sentenced by U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge M. Page Kelly to six months of probation and ordered to pay $38,052 in restitution to the Department of Labor.

SHARE
Previous articleTerminally Fraudulent
Next articleSafety Net

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.