Tricked Out

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If you’re trying to hide fraudulent activity, it would be smart not to do anything out of the ordinary to raise suspicions. An article in the Montgomery Advertiser details the story of two former corrections officers who tricked the Internal Revenue Service into issuing approximately $176,000 in improper tax refunds. One of the fraudsters used his take from the scheme to ”trick out” his SUV with a new paint job and rims and buy a BMW. (Perhaps his coworkers or neighbors became suspicious when they saw the new improvements and the luxury vehicle.)

The story details that the two co-conspirators were shift clerks at the state prison. This position gave the two men access to every inmate’s personal identification information. (That’s pretty handy if you are looking to commit fraud.) The inmates’ identities were used to file more than 180 false tax returns claiming more than $750,000 in tax refunds. Investigators were able to link the fraud to the two men via Internet Protocol (IP) addresses used in filing the online tax returns.

The fraudulent refunds were mailed to addresses associated with the two former clerks. According to court records, some of the checks were cashed by one of the men’s uncles and a local check casher.

Both men were convicted of conspiracy to defraud the United States. The man with the two vehicles was convicted of seven counts of wire fraud and seven counts of aggravated identity theft, while the other man was convicted of one count of aggravated identity theft. They were sentenced to 10 years and seven years in prison, respectively and were ordered to pay $176,114 in restitution.

In this case it looks like these two tricksters fell victim to their own deception. There will be no more tricks from these two as they spend the foreseeable future behind bars. (Who knows, maybe someone will steal their identity while in prison and they’ll get a taste of their own trickery.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ” Ex-ALDOC Workers Sentenced in Identity Theft,” published in the Montgomery Advertiser on June 3, 2014.

Two former Alabama Department of Corrections officers have been sentenced for their roles in a stolen identity tax refund scheme.

Bryant Thompson was sentenced to 120 months in prison, and Quincy Walton was sentenced to 84 months.

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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.