The Biggest Offender

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A day does not usually pass where you don’t read about a long list of shady characters who were convicted of fraud against the government. (Try not to be too depressed. This means that more perpetrators are being caught and prosecuted every day.) Today is no different as we take a look at a rap sheet of Pennsylvania residents who were sentenced for their part in $50,000 of welfare fraud as reported by The Patriot-News.

The article profiles 11 perpetrators and their individual crimes. The largest offender in the bunch illegally racked up $27,550 through cash assistance, day care and food program benefits. (As you might guess, she was not entitled to receive the government benefits.) The 37-year-old was sentenced to five years probation, 40 hours of community service and has to pay full restitution, court costs, fees and fines. As a consequence of her fraudulent acts, she was disqualified from receiving cash assistance and food stamps for up to a year.

The other perpetrators ranged in age from 23 to 46. (Fraudsters are getting younger every day.) Their crimes included receiving undeserved food stamps, cash assistance and food program benefits. Like the biggest offender, their punishment also included probation, community service, restitution, court costs, fees, fines and most were disqualified for receiving welfare benefits for between six months and a year. (How about never receiving welfare benefits again?)

I have a new idea for a reality show. Let’s call it the ”Biggest Offender.” The premise of the show would be based on the fraudsters who cost the government and American taxpayers the most amount of money. Viewers would get to vote on the various methods of punishment as retribution for their crimes. (Now we know that would not be fair according to our justice system, but neither is stealing money from law abiding, tax-paying citizens.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Midstate Residents Among Those Sentenced for Welfare Fraud,” published by The Patriot-News on September 22, 2014.

A Harrisburg woman who pleaded guilty to taking more than $27,550 in cash assistance, day care, and food program benefits she wasn’t eligible for was among 11 Pennsylvania residents who recently entered guilty pleas and were sentenced for welfare fraud.

Janelle Fultz-Baylor, 37, was the largest offender among the group that deliberately cheated the welfare system of more than $50,000 in benefits, according to the Office of Inspector General Michael A. Sprow.

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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.