Egg on His Face

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In the history of the world, has any hypocrite ever been fair? (Nope.) A Syracuse.com report has the story of an upstate New York diner owner who employed an anti-tax, anti-government brand to market his restaurant. The publicity might have been good for business, until he was discovered to have stolen from the very welfare programs he derided. (Check, please!)

According to the report, the diner’s menu quite artfully advertised the owner’s political beliefs with menu items, listed for the reasonable price of $3.59 plus an exorbitantly inflated tax of $27.99. (But free speech can leave a bad taste in your mouth when it’s served up with a side of hypocrisy.)

After the diner owner, along with his wife, were caught intentionally undervaluing their assets so they could collect more than $23,000 in Medicaid benefits, they pleaded guilty to offering a false instrument for filing, were forced to repay the money they stole and each were sentenced to one year of conditional discharge.

Moral of the story? Pilfering taxpayer-funded programs while dishing out insults about the government for providing them is a sure way to get burned.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on, ”Diner owner whose menu lampoons Obama guilty in welfare fraud case,” written by Mike McAndrew and published by Syracuse.com on June 2, 2016.

The owner of a diner whose menu includes an ‘anti-government’ egg special that comes with a grossly inflated tax has admitted he defrauded the government of more than $23,000 in welfare benefits.

Michael P. Tassone, owner of the American Diner in suburban Liverpool, was sentenced May 5 to a one year conditional discharge after he pleaded guilty to offering a false instrument for filing, a misdemeanor. Tassone paid $23,354 in restitution to the Onandaga County Department of Social Services as part of the disposition of the five-year-old case.

As part of the resolution of the criminal case, the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office dismissed a more serious felony welfare fraud case against Tassone.

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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.