How Much is Enough?

36419114 - hand about to bang gavel on sounding block in the court room

Some people believe that if they only had more money, they would be happy. The Washington Times reports that one man in Hawaii had a significant amount of money, but that fact didn’t prevent him from illegally obtaining more funds by bilking the government of about $200,000 of a variety of government benefits.

The 67-year-old man, who changed his name approximately 15 years ago, was using multiple identities to receive medical care benefits, food stamps, rental subsidies and tuition assistance. (A Fraud Hat Trick!) Court records show that he stated to the judge that it was convenient to use different names. (Perhaps the fraudster will understand that it would be convenient for the judge to put him in jail.)

It seems the criminal, who had a Mercedes-Benz and a sailboat, neglected to disclose on benefit applications that he had received a$300,000 inheritance from his deceased parents. (This fact would have made him ineligible to receive public assistance benefits.) The false information he provided allowed him to receive a master’s degree in geography through illegally gained federal grants and loans.

The man ended up pleading guilty to stealing from the government, identity theft and possessing a firearm. (It turns out he is a felon. Go figure.) The prosecuting attorney estimated that the man owes about $200,000 in restitution. He faces up to 10 years in prison for stealing government property, two years for identity theft and another 10 years for possessing a firearm.

The article reports that his Mercedes and sailboat are old and without much value and his inheritance ran out years ago. (I’m not feeling sorry for this felon who just borrowed a few names, stole some public funds and only had one handgun.) One thing is for certain, if he wasn’t happy before, he sure isn’t going to be happy in jail. (When criminals are concerned, this begs the question, how much money is enough? The answer is: it’s never enough.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Waikiki Man Pleads Guilty in Welfare Fraud Case,” written by Jennifer Sinco Kelleher and published by The Washington Times on February 6, 2014.

HONOLULU (AP) – A Waikiki man with a Mercedes-Benz, a sailboat and an inheritance admitted in court Thursday that he used various identities to illegally receive food stamps and other government benefits.

Kevin Halverson, who also goes by the name Vaughn Sherwood, pleaded guilty to stealing from the government, identity theft and possessing a firearm that he wasn’t allowed to have because he’s a felon.

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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.