Lying is Never a Good Idea


Telling a lie is never a good idea because eventually, the truth will come out one way or another. A Department of Justice press release details the story of a Washington woman who attempted to tell a few lies on the witness stand to cover up her scheme to bilk the Social Security Administration (SSA) of more than $50,000. (Telling a lie in front of a Judge is definitely not a good idea.)

The press release states that the woman hid the fact that her mother and sister, who happened to receive welfare benefits, no longer lived with her in a Seattle neighborhood. (It turns out they moved out of the country, but the welfare checks continued to be deposited into accounts the mother and sister had opened in the United States.) The daughter either used her mother’s debit card to access the government benefits or forged her signature.

It gets more interesting. During a visit by the mother and sister one year after they had moved overseas, the daughter called the SSA and claimed that her mother was living with her and paying fair market value rent. (She couldn’t give her mother a price break for being a relative?) The daughter forged her mother’s signature on benefits forms and lied to Social Security personnel when they contacted her and asked to speak with the mother. Another lie told by the daughter led government officials to believe that the mother was visiting relatives in North Carolina. (In reality, those folks had also moved out of the country seven years prior. I’m sure the daughter just got confused about the dates.)

Evidently, the lies on the witness stand were convincing enough to cause confusion among jury members. The jury was unable to return a verdict. However, the daughter ended up pleading guilty to Social Security fraud and will serve one month in prison plus three years of supervised release. She also is required to pay back $50, 973 for her illegal actions.

The press release states that the judge wanted to send an important message by giving the woman a prison sentence instead of home confinement. Let’s hope that the message received by the defendant will hit home.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on a press release titled, ”Former Amazon Recruiter Sentenced To Prison For Welfare Fraud,” released by the Department of Justice on November 14, 2014.

A former executive recruiter for was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to one month in prison and three years of supervised release for Social Security fraud, announced Acting United States Attorney Annette L. Hayes. Between 2009 and 2012, MARLENE SCOTT, 42, concealed the fact that her mother and sister, who were welfare recipients, had moved from the United States to Lebanon and therefore were no longer entitled to collect welfare benefits in this country. SCOTT falsely told caseworkers that her mother and sister lived with her in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle. By hiding her mother and sister’s departure, defendant caused the Social Security Administration to pay out more than $50,000 in benefits, which Scott then withdrew. U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton noted that SCOTT took the witness stand and lied when the case went to trial in June 2014. The judge declared a mistrial after the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict. Judge Leighton said the story SCOTT told on the witness stand was ”preposterous.” Judge Leighton said Scott’s lies on the witness stand ”were a profound offense to the legal system,” and, but for the false testimony, he might have given her a probationary sentence.

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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.