Dedication Requires Commitment


Whether you have watched movies about sports, or you have been on the receiving end of a pep talk about dedication, you’ve likely come across the lesson that ”dedication requires commitment.’? If you are dedicated to a goal or action, you must put in a significant amount of commitment to accomplish whatever that goal or action may be. While the relationship between commitment and dedication may seem elementary, one fraudster in Alabama has failed to understand the connection between the two in the face of jail time, according to an article in The Birmingham News.

What better access does an individual have to commit a crime than from the inside? A former Social Security Administration (SSA) employee learned a lesson about making and keeping commitments. (Come on buddy, you don’t want to be known as a quitter for the rest of your life, do you?) Investigators found that the fraudster accessed records to identify recently deceased individuals who received Social Security benefits and narrowed down his search to those receiving direct deposits at specific banks. (That seems like a calculated commitment.) Authorities estimate that he stole over $325,000 through a series of 150 transactions conducted between January 2011 and November 2011. Court records reveal an Internet-based pay system was used to transfer money from at least 50 identifiable accounts into his personal account. (Well, he had a good 11 month run – so, what was he able to buy during the year of leisure?)

While tracking the illegal funds, investigators discovered he used the funds to make payments on new home furnishings, vehicles and other bills. (See – already paying for new things!) The judge sentenced him to 70 months in prison, as well as to pay restitution in the amount of $41,107, divided among five banks. He also had to forfeit $175,559, ”which represents some of the proceeds from his access-device fraud.” (That adds to $216,666 – where is the rest of the $325,000? Does he get to keep that for being a good boy?) A statement made by the fraudster’s representative indicated? ”We just hate that he has to serve 70 months. We were hoping for something less than that. He admitted that he made a mistake and that he was wrong.” (Well, that’s all we need – an apology! Just let him off with the money.) Although he did not have a criminal history, the 10 months of planning and commitment to the fraud were grounds enough for the conviction.

It’s funny how people like to brag about their commitment to dedication when success or reward is in the books; however, when you are facing 70 months of prison time, the temptation of stepping up to the commitment dwindles.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Birmingham Man Sentenced to 70 Months for Taking $325,000 from Bank Accounts of Deceased Social Security Recipients,” written by Kelsey Stein and published by The Birmingham News on April 11, 2012.

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – A former employee of a Social Security Administration office in Birmingham was sentenced Wednesday to 70 months in prison for taking more than $325,000 from the bank accounts of deceased recipients of SSA benefits.

In January 2012, Manuel Chaney III, also known as “Trey,” pleaded guilty to one count of financial access-device fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft to get account after being indicted in November 2011.

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Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.