No More Tricks or Treats

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Fraudsters disguise their crimes in a variety of ways. Sometimes criminals create fraudulent documents, alter legitimate physical or electronic documents, tweak transactions in accounting systems or destroy actual documents. Today’s fraudster from Boston, Massachusetts took a different approach and disguised his workers’ compensation fraud scheme behind a pumpkin and a Mike Myers mask. (Got your attention? Read on for an amusing look at a fake Halloween attack that got smashed.)

The man at the center of this workers’ compensation fraud case is a former Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) trolley driver. He devised what he thought was a clever scheme to carry out a fake attack on him while he was working his regular route two days before Halloween in 2016.

The trolley driver met a friend at a Hooters restaurant in Saugus to seal the Halloween fraud deal three days prior to the staged attack. (That’s a hoot. So much for being wise when devising this clandestine event.) Bank records show that the friend got $2,000 for his part in the workers’ compensation fraud scheme.

If everything had gone as planned, the friend who was carrying a trick-or-treat pumpkin and wearing a Mike Myers mask would not have gotten caught. (But as you know, this is a fraud case, so obviously the fraudster got caught holding an empty trick-or-treat pumpkin.)

Right after midnight on the night of the attack, the trolley driver made a regular stop at a station in Dorchester. The friend, who was waiting for him as planned, staged an argument with the trolley driver and repeatedly hit him in the head with the pumpkin, while dragging him out of the vehicle. As a result of the attack, the trolley driver claimed that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and could not work for the MBTA because he was concerned for his personal safety. (Instead of having nightmares about clowns, this guy probably dreamed about a ghost with a pumpkin head.) As a result of the PTSD, the driver collected $62,000 in workers’ compensation payments.

Fortunately for investigators, the friend, who was wearing the Mike Myers mask, dark overalls and gloves was captured on video running off without his trick-or-treat pumpkin. (The discarded trick-or-treat pumpkin was eventually discovered, along with the attacker’s fingerprints.) The friend who was supposed to attack the trolley driver agreed to assist law enforcement in their investigation. (As a result of his very good decision to cooperate, the fake attacker was not charged in the crime.)

The 47-year-old trolley driver from Boston was eventually convicted on five counts of workers’ compensation fraud, two counts of insurance fraud, misleading police and making a false statement under penalties of perjury. He is currently serving three years and one day in state prison where there will be no more tricks nor treats. His disguise will probably be an orange jump suit. (A fond reminder of a fake Halloween attack gone wrong.)

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article,Former MBTA trolley driver convicted of staging Halloween attack to collect worker’s compensation,” published by The Boston Globe on June 10, 2019.  

A former MBTA trolley driver who paid a man $2,000 to attack him with a trick-or-treat plastic pumpkin while the assailant wore a Michael Myers mask is now serving a three-year state prison sentence imposed Friday following convictions for perjury and stealing worker’s compensation.

Thomas Lucey was convicted by a Suffolk Superior Court jury last week on five counts of worker’s compensation fraud, two counts of insurance fraud, misleading police, and making a false statement under penalties of perjury for the attack that was staged before midnight on Oct. 29, 2016, according to court records. Halloween was two days later.

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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.