Not So Petty

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Petty crimes, which can include offenses such as shoplifting, trespassing, public intoxication or vandalism, are considered to be minor. A woman, whose last name happened to be Petty (what a great last name for a criminal), committed a ”not so petty” crime by stealing hundreds of identities and using them to commit food stamp fraud across three states.

The industrious fraudster carried out her crime over a seven-month period by accessing patient records while working at a Las Vegas, Nevada medical facility. She stole hundreds of patient files containing names, birthdates and Social Security Numbers before being fired from that position. (She used those identities to obtain food stamp benefits for more than 100 patients. The government lost $44,000 from that scam.)

About two years later, police discovered 1,500 more stolen identities. She had obtained this information while working for another health care company in Texas. (Apparently, she had lied on her job application by overstating her qualifications and did not list her job in Las Vegas.)

The 48-year-old identity thief was found guilty on seven counts of identity theft and one count of aggravated identity theft. While her sentencing date has not yet been set, she faces up to 15 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine for each identity theft count. In addition, the aggravated identity theft count requires that she spend two years in prison and pay a $250,000 fine.

Judging by the potential penalties, it’s pretty clear that the government does not consider this type of crime to be petty. Let’s hope that the sentence handed down will prevent this woman and anyone else considering a similar crime from fleecing any government benefit program in the future.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, ”Health care worker from Mesquite stole scores of patient files, used them to get food stamps,” posted on DallasNews.com on February 1, 2017.

A woman from Mesquite has been convicted of several identity theft offenses committed in Nevada, Florida, and Texas.

Deborah Petty, 48, was found guilty Tuesday on seven counts of identity theft and one count of aggravated identity theft.

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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.