Destructive Fraud

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Nearly one year ago, a devastating tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma, leaving a path of destruction and death in its 17-mile wake. While many residents were picking up the pieces after the disaster, KFOR.com reports that there was one young man who took advantage of the demise of others and tried to bilk the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of disaster benefits he did not deserve.

The article states that the area struck by the tornado was declared a ”major disaster” and the payment of benefits was authorized. A 19-year-old man submitted a false claim to FEMA approximately one month after the tornado struck regarding the home he claimed to be his primary residence at that time. (In reality, the destroyed home was not his primary residence.)

This fraudster pleaded guilty to committing benefits fraud and was sentenced to three months in prison. He will also serve 60 days in a halfway house, 90 days of home confinement, pay nearly $13,000 in restitution to FEMA and serve five years of supervised release following home confinement.

FEMA designates benefits to those unfortunate citizens, who actually experience catastrophic events that leave them without food, shelter and other resources necessary for daily living. Let’s hope the punishment in this case will catch this young man’s attention and prevent him from committing any fraudulent behavior in the future.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Oklahoma Man Takes Advantage of FEMA, Sentenced to Prison,” written by Dallas Franklin and published on KFOR.com on April 9, 2014.

MOORE, Okla. – A Moore resident who allegedly committed disaster benefits fraud in connection with the May 2013 tornado was sentenced today.

Blake Self, 19, was sentenced to serve three months in prison, 60 days in a halfway house, and 90 days home confinement.

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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.