Oh, Brother!

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Twins are known for having fun with creating confusion for those who can’t tell them apart. They can dress and act alike, fooling friends, teachers and even dates. A man at the center of today ‘s “Fraud of the Day” used his twin brother ‘s identity to collect more than half a million dollars in welfare benefits he didn’t deserve.

The former Queens, New York sanitation worker used the Social Security number (SSN) of his deceased brother, who died a day after he was born, to lead a double life more than three decades later. (He claimed that his dead brother was suffering from depression when he filed paperwork with the Social Security Administration and as a result, collected undeserved government benefits for 19 years.)

The fraudster reported separate addresses, driver ‘s licenses and bank accounts while carrying out the elaborate scheme. His fraudulent efforts enabled him to collect $216,481.80 from Medicaid; $15,024 from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); $209,902 in state rental subsidies; and, $140,398 from Social Security. (In all, that amounted to more than $580,000 in undeserved welfare benefits received while working for the Queens Department of Sanitation.)

The 54-year-old twin pleaded guilty in court to second-degree grand larceny, plus first-degree falsifying business records. (Both are felonies.) Apparently, he has promised to repay the agencies he defrauded. (He better deliver on that promise.)

Even though this set of twins created confusion for the benefits programs that were targeted, ultimately, the government saw through the scam and stopped this delinquent brother from doing any more harm. When he is eventually sentenced, he won’t be able to blame this crime on his brother and will have to take responsibility for his own actions.

Source: Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Queens sanitation worker posed as dead twin for welfare benefits,” published by the New York Daily News on January 24, 2017.

A Queens sanitation worker has pleaded guilty to impersonating his dead twin to pocket more than half a million in welfare benefits, authorities said Tuesday.

Thomas Murphy, 54, copped to using the social security number of his twin brother, Robert ,who died a day after their birth in 1962 ‚ to build a double-life and collect public benefits for nearly two decades.

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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.