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The AARP cites that roughly six in 10 cases of elder financial abuse are committed by relatives, and three in 10 instances can be traced to friends, neighbors or home care aides. And in most cases, the closer the relation, the greater the damage. Our fraud case today centers on a Thomaston, Connecticut woman who will serve more than five years in prison for using a relative’s name to bill Medicaid for fraudulent services in this Medicaid fraud scheme. (Thanksgiving six years from now is probably going to be a little bit awkward…)

Today’s fraudster was arrested in June 2017 after a Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigation found she was illegally serving as principal of a counseling services company. She had stolen a relative’s identity, using the identity and associated credentials to bill Medicaid for more than $661,000 in services she was not legally qualified to provide or did not provide at all. (A pretty bold move to start up a business when you don’t even own the basic credentials.)

As a result of the investigation, our fraudster pled guilty to one count of Larceny in the First Degree by Defrauding a Public Community and one count of Identity Theft in the First Degree. The guilty plea carries with it a sentence of 10 years in prison suspended after 67 months served. After carrying out that sentence, she will also be subject to three years’ probation on each count, running concurrently. On top of the prison and probation time, this Connecticut fraudster will have to repay in full the $661,000 that she stole from Medicaid. (Maybe she can use the prison time to learn a profession of her own?)

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, Thomaston woman sentenced to more than five years in Medicare fraud,” posted on WTNH.com on March 20, 2018.

A Thomaston woman will serve more than five years in prison for using a relative’s name to bill Medicaid for more than $600,000 in services she was not legally qualified to provide or did not provide at all.

Andrea J. Prenez was sentenced Tuesday in Hartford Superior Court, where she pled guilty in October to one count each of Larceny in the First Degree by Defrauding a Public Community and Identity Theft in the First Degree.

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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.