Lagging Behind

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Sometimes people with incomes below the federal poverty level need a little extra help to catch up to those who have more resources. In 1965, the federal government launched the Head Start program, which was intended to support children under the age of five in impoverished situations by enhancing their cognitive, social, emotional and physical development. The program, which currently serves more than one million children each year, was not intended to fund a lavish lifestyle for a dietician mentioned in an article posted on News4Jax.com.

The story states that the dietician stole the identities of children who were enrolled in the Head Start program throughout the state of Georgia. The fraudster used the personal information from thousands of newborns and children up to the age of five to create bogus patient files, write fake prescriptions and submit $4 million in false claims to Medicaid for nutritional services that were not provided. (The article states that the dietician used the reimbursements to buy luxury automobiles, designer clothing and take extravagant vacations.)

The 47-year-old woman was convicted on 58 counts of conspiracy, health care fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering by a federal jury. (It appears the jury left no stone unturned.) She will serve 16 years in prison plus three years of supervised release. The fraudster also was ordered to pay more than $4 million in restitution to Medicaid.

Instead of helping impoverished children to get a step ahead, this woman’s selfish crime caused thousands of children and their families to lag further behind. Thanks to a fair sentence, this fraudster will now get a dose of her own medicine and will experience what it feels like to be left behind bars.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Georgia Woman Convicted of Medicaid Fraud Sentenced,” written by Francine Frazier and published by News4Jax.com on June 9, 2014.

BRUNSWICK – A Brunswick, Georgia, woman who was convicted by a federal jury on 58 counts of conspiracy, health care fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering, was sentenced last month to 16 years in prison.

Schella Logan Hope, 47, was convicted in November 2013 for her role in a multi-million dollar Medicaid fraud conspiracy.

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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.