Think Twice

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A famous idiom urges circumspection by suggesting that one should think twice before doing something that may involve regret if plans go awry. According to WMC-TV, a Memphis man was sentenced for masterminding a fraudulent scheme that stole $400,000 from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). (Between this man and his brother – who led a separate scheme – more than $3.2 million was stolen from two government programs intended to help children.)

According to the story, the man illegally directed $400,000 in SNAP benefits to a grocery store that happened to be owned by his brother. (For more than two years, he recruited food stamp beneficiaries and paid them a fraction of what the benefits were worth.) The fraudster then redeemed the SNAP benefits at his brother’s store. (Like so many instances of fraud, this conspiracy was a family affair.)

During the same time period, the brother who owned the grocery store was also running a scheme that involved bilking the Child Care Certificate Program. (This government program helps underprivileged families cover the costs of child care so that parents can work.) The scam provided cash in exchange for child care certificates. The brother would then falsely report that the children had attended his daycare center, triggering reimbursement from the government program. (I wonder who was watching the kids?)

The story states that the brother who committed SNAP fraud was sentenced to 27 months in prison and must repay $200,000 in restitution. The brother, who owned the grocery store, was previously sentenced to 37 months in jail for redeeming $2.8 million in Child Care Certificates.

While these two brothers put their two heads together to come up with two fraudulent schemes against two government programs, they definitely didn’t think twice about the ramifications of being caught for their crimes. (Let’s hope that these two now understand that it would be prudent to think twice before ever stealing from the government again.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Mastermind of $400,000 SNAP fraud sentenced to prison,” written by WMCActionNews5.com Staff and published by WMC-TV on November 3, 2015.

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) – A judge sentenced the mastermind behind a scheme that defrauded the government of $400,000 to 27 months in prison.

According to the indictment, Ray Chism III bought Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, formerly known as Food Stamps, from recipients in exchange for cash. He did not pay the recipients what the SNAP benefits were worth, but then would redeem them for full monetary value.

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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.