Bad Hotel Service

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Binary data with the word IDENTITY appears in the shadow of a hand. Concept for digital crime. Blue toned image.

Everyone wants to enjoy a nice vacation where the hotel is equipped with fresh bedding, soft towels, room service, and large entertainment systems. (All these amenities cost the hotel a pretty penny behind the scenes.) One hotel owner went too far in trying to provide a luxurious experience for guests. Dharmesh Patel formally owned and operated the Baymont Inn and Suites Hotel in Stevens Point, Wis. He stole the identity of one of his hotel employees and used it to finance items for the hotel chain. (This is not the best business model to follow.)

The employee’s identity was used to purchase 110 55-inch flat screen televisions, which were originally shipped to the hotel in Stevens Point, then relocated to a branch of the Baymont Inn and Suites Hotel in Coralville, Iowa. Patel stuck his employee with the $500,000 bill for the televisions and other miscellaneous merchandise. (The employee was robbed by their own boss. Wouldn’t it be nice if the employee could write up his boss’ next review?)

This television scam is the latest in a series of offenses to go on Patel’s criminal record. Patel was charged in 2017 with felony criminal damage to property when he caused $5,000 in damages to a competitor’s hotel. He hired someone to release bed bugs (I’m suddenly starting to itch) into the hotel and cut the pipes to the ice machines to cause harm to the competitor’s business. (I’m no entrepreneur, but this doesn’t seem like the best strategy to get an edge on competitors. What goes around, usually comes around.)

Patel pleaded guilty to identity theft and wire fraud in March 2020. He was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in federal prison. (Patel is going to take a nice little Stay-Cay to prison, where the amenities aren’t so nice.)  Four other felony cases are currently open against Patel in Portage County, Wis., with the status of those pending.

The judge gave Patel a lengthier sentence due to his significant criminal history and because he has not indicated any willingness to reform. He stated that Patel is a menace to society that needed to be taught a lesson. (Perhaps Patel will get to experience some bed bugs of his own while behind bars. It just may change his perspective on wanting to reform.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “Former Stevens Point hotel owner gets 87 months in federal prison for identity theft, wire fraud,” published by Stevens Point Journal on June 18, 2020.

MADISON – A former Stevens Point resident was sentenced Thursday to 7¼ years in federal prison for identity theft and wire fraud.

Dharmesh Patel, 31, whose current address is listed as Iowa City, Iowa, co-owned and ran the Baymont Inn and Suites Hotel in Stevens Point, according to a news release from the United States Attorney General’s Office of the Western District of Wisconsin. Patel stole the identity of someone who worked at the hotel and used it to buy merchandise for the hotel and a Baymont Inn & Suites Hotel Patel operated in Coralville, Iowa, according to the news release.

 

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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.