Free for All

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Everyone has an opinion about people who are living illegally in the U.S. No matter what side you are on, today’s case is food for thought. Rafael Bautista Abreu, 63, formerly of Lynn, Mass., pleaded guilty to theft of public money and making a false statement on an application for Social Security benefits. (In other words, he stole government benefits he did not qualify for from honest taxpaying citizens.)

The Dominican national, who was living in the U.S. illegally, committed identity theft, Social Security fraud, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) fraud. He used the identity of a Puerto Rican citizen to illegally apply for Social Security benefits and Food Stamps.

Bautista Abreu received $12,222 in SNAP benefits over nearly 7 years and $16,080 in MassHealth benefits for nearly 8 years by using the stolen identity. (This guy must have thought that government benefits were free for all.)

The Dominican fraudster is facing a sentence of up to a decade in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater, for the charge of theft of public funds. (He’s could lose more money than he stole.)

And that’s not all, either. For making a false statement in an application for Social Security benefits, the Dominican fraudster could get up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater.

If this man ends up in a federal prison, taxpayers will continue to foot the bill. No matter how you feel about people living in the U.S. illegally, the justice system will make the final call on how this fraudster will pay for his deliberate and unlawful acts. (There’s always the option of deportment as well.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a Department of Justice press release, “Dominican National Pleads Guilty to Stealing Government Benefits and Making False Statement,” dated February 10, 2021.

BOSTON – A Dominican national pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston to theft of public money and making a false statement on an application for Social Security benefits.

Rafael Bautista Abreu, 63, formerly of Lynn, pleaded guilty to theft of public money and making a false statement on an application for Social Security benefits. U.S. District Court Judge George A. O’Toole scheduled sentencing for June 10, 2021.

 

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.