Exploiting Relatives

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41913416 - medicaid torn newspaper headline on cash

It’s bad enough when a random person is victimized by a fraudster, but when someone is victimized by their own family member, it’s even worse. A New York woman took advantage of two relatives and New York’s Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program by stealing $75,000 from the program which is funded by Medicaid.

The Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program allows relatives of physically disabled people to take full responsibility for their home care including the hiring, supervising and firing of aides. The woman in today’s “Fraud of the Day” case used the program to pay for the home health care of two of her relatives.

The woman who assumed the responsibility for taking care of her relatives scammed the government for nearly two-and-a-half years. She used the personal identification information of the aides hired to provide care to her relatives to falsify instances of work they did not actually perform. (She logged hours for the aides even when the workers were out of the country.)

 The deceptive woman was adept at submitting false timesheets, intercepting the aides’ paychecks, forging their signatures and cashing their paychecks. (She paid the aides some of the money, but kept some for herself.) Surprisingly, the aides were unaware that the woman was scamming them as well as the Medicaid program.

 The 57-year-old pleaded guilty to third-degree forgery and petty larceny for inflating the amount of care that her relatives received. She was sentenced to a week in jail, three years of probation, and 150 hours of community service. She also must pay a $1,000 fine.

 It’s a shame that this fraudster exploited her disabled family members so she could pocket money to which she was not entitled. (If I were the judge, I would have imposed another requirement – pay a premium price to make sure that her two relatives receive the best home health care possible.)

Source:Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Freeport woman sentenced in Medicaid fraud scheme” published by Newsday on May 26, 2017.

A Freeport woman who stole $75,000 from Medicaid was sentenced Friday to a week in jail, the state attorney general’s office said.

Sonia Ponce, 57, pleaded guilty in March to third-degree forgery and petty larceny, both misdemeanors.

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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.