Turning a Blind Eye

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Social Security cards with cash and benefit amount numbers

A Kansas couple has been sentenced after fraudulently boosting their Social Security benefits. Addison Lewis, 41, and Brandi Lewis, 38, of Hutchinson, were deceptive about a medical condition, which led them to commit Social Security fraud.

Addison Lewis deceived the federal government by misrepresenting his physical condition. Between 2013 and 2018, Addison claimed to have cortical visual blindness. (Just so you know, this means total or partial loss of vision.) In response to his claim, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) increased Addison’s benefit amount. (But the only real blindness present was total disregard for the law.)

To support her husband’s medical claim and to increase their family income through boosting Addison’s benefit amount, Brandi provided the VA with further false information about her husband’s condition. (She was Addison’s support system and accomplice throughout this made-up medical condition.)

Later, Addison admitted that he exaggerated his symptoms to mislead the VA. (No surprise there. He was “seeing” how much he could get away with when he got caught.)

Addison and Brandi Lewis each pleaded guilty to Social Security fraud after being charged with one count of Theft of Government Property. The couple will serve five years of probation. Additionally, they will have to pay $111,510 in restitution to the Social Security Administration and $131,972 to the VA. (Thankfully, the justice system did not turn a blind eye to this corroborating couple. Let’s hope this sentence will open their eyes to what they have done.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a Department of Justice press release, “Couple Sentenced for Feigning Blindness for VA & Social Security Benefits,” dated August 3, 2021.

WICHITA, KAN. – A husband and wife from Hutchinson, Kansas, have been sentenced for deceiving the federal government about a medical condition to receive benefit payments. Addison Lewis, 41, and Brandi Lewis, 38, each received five years of probation after pleading guilty to one count of Theft of Government Property.

From 2013 to 2018, Addison Lewis misrepresented himself as having cortical visual blindness to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). In turn, the VA increased his benefits amount. Addison Lewis admitted misleading the VA by exaggerating symptoms and impairment attributed to cortical visual blindness. Brandi Lewis intentionally provided inaccurate information to the VA to support her husband’s false claim.

 

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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.