Poor Choices

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34631372 - closeup of a medicare enrollment form with money

Everyone makes a poor choice at some point in their life. There’s always the potential for buyer’s remorse regarding the latest fashion trends; choosing the vegan special instead of the filet mignon at a steak house; or, wishing you had never dated a co-worker. Today’s fraudster made a different type of poor choice. She deliberately attempted to deceive her employer by providing fake documentation, which enabled her to work at a Berks County, Pennsylvania counseling and mental health services business. She used her position there to commit a Medicaid fraud scheme that lined her pockets with $84,500 she did not deserve.

Today’s fraudster is no stranger to deception. The woman, who had prior Medicaid fraud convictions, continued her streak of poor choices by deliberately lying to her most recent employer. She did so by providing forged documentation. (Even though her prior convictions made her ineligible to provide healthcare to Medicaid beneficiaries, she charged ahead as if she could. Perhaps it was the “fake it till you make it” mentality.)

The lies continued. The fraudster agreed to have background checks performed when she joined the most recent company as a behavioral specialist consultant and mobile therapist. Before getting caught in her lies, she illegally collected $84,500 from Medicaid for the services she provided.

The compulsive liar eventually admitted fibbing as the case played out in court. (She fabricated a story that her father was dying, even though he was alive and well. Apparently, she confessed she told the lie because she wanted more time to spend with her family before being arrested.) Eventually, it gets really hard to keep all of those lies straight.

The woman’s lawyer gave it a good shot when she tried to convince the court that her client was remorseful and had good intentions when she tried to take the job she was ineligible to hold. (I can almost hear the violin music playing. Break out the tissues.) In a memo to the judge, the lawyer went on to say that her client was struggling to pay the bills after getting out of jail for the other fraud convictions. (Apparently, that played into the fraudster’s decision to return to her original field of study.)

Today’s 46-year-old criminal relayed through her lawyer that she knew she had made mistakes in her past and was truly remorseful for her actions. (Perhaps she should have considered that before she pocketed the $84,500.) She also indicated that she wanted to complete her sentence and return to her family as soon as possible so she could seek employment and pay off her debt to Medicaid through restitution.

The Lancaster County judge sentenced the woman to 46 months of imprisonment for committing Medicaid fraud. Let’s hope this experience effectively ends this woman’s string of poor choices and she will emerge from prison equipped to make better decisions in the future.

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, Therapist receives 46-month prison sentence for fraudpublished by Central Penn Business Journal on July 27, 2017.

A judge sentenced a Lancaster County behavioral health consultant to 46 months’ imprisonment Tuesday for lying to her employer about prior Medicaid fraud convictions.

Tammie Sensenig, 46, of Denver received the initial fraud charges in 2006 and 2008 after giving false documentation to her then-employers, according to court documents.

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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.