Thick as Thieves

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The idiom ”thick as thieves” refers to a group of people who are described as close friends. Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” article tells about three women who were closer than friends – they were sisters who banded together as ”partners in crime.” The family members managed to steal more than $221,000 in public assistance benefits from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

The sister at the center of today’s article took a plea deal offered by the state and was sentenced to between one and 10 years for the felony charge of public assistance fraud for making a false statement. In exchange for her guilty plea, two additional charges were dismissed. The 37-year-old sister will participate in Idaho’s retained jurisdiction program which attempts to rehabilitate criminals.

Another sister, 34, has already been sentenced for her involvement in the scheme and will also serve between one and 10 years in prison. She was ordered to pay $92,498.91 in restitution to the Department of Health and Welfare.

The fate of the 38-year-old third sister remains to be seen. (She was the oldest. Shouldn’t she have known better?) She is charged with one count of unauthorized use of food stamps, one count of fraudulently obtaining welfare or public assistance and a misdemeanor count for obtaining welfare or public assistance.

Stealing welfare benefits from the government is serious business. In this case it looks like the family who commits fraud together, goes to jail together.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, ”Second sister goes to prison in welfare fraud case,” posted on MagicValley.com on July 28, 2016.

BURLEY — A second woman in a welfare fraud case has been sentenced to spend at least a year in prison.

Teresa Martinez, 37, was sentenced in Cassia County District Court to one to 10 years on a felony charge of public assistance fraud by means of a false statement.

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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.