The $3 Million Mistake

14333972 - woman customer shopping in department store and paying by credit card

We all make mistakes. Everyone once in while we may put salt instead of sugar in the coffee, miss a deadline at work or forget to record the big game. While some mistakes fair larger than others, we are guilty in the crime. According to the CBS Local Connecticut, one Connecticut resident made a mistake that may just cost her a fortune…literally.

The article reported that a Hartford woman has pleaded guilty to her role in a case in which the federal government was defrauded of $1.6 million in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Prosecutors say the defendant and her husband were in on the scheme together. The scam, which the article reported ran for roughly two and a half years, was operated through a chain of small, privately owned grocery stores. (They must be organic stores to be making that much money!? Authorities say that while the couple claimed to own all six stores, they had listed alternative owners on paper.(A number that almost triples the amount stolen!)

With penalties this large, it’s a wonder that anyone would be willing to take on that risk for some extra cash. Perhaps the defendant thought $1.6 in illegal revenue was a lot. I wonder what her reaction will be if the judge metes out a sentence including restitution and jail time. This is one $3 million mistake I’ll be sure to avoid.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, ”Wethersfield Woman Pleads Guilty in $1.6 Million Food Stamp Fraud,” published by CBS Local Connecticut on September 11, 2012.

Federal prosecutors say a Wethersfield woman has pleaded guilty in a $1.6 million dollar food stamp fraud scheme which operated for almost two and a half years at small Hartford grocery stores.

U.S. Attorney David Fein says 46-year-old Lillian Adames and her husband, Apolinar Collado were the actual owners of six small retail grocery stores where they exchanged cash for food stamps — a violation of the rules of the federal ”Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program” administered by the Department of Agriculture.

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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.