Not for Sissies

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Growing old is not for sissies. Not only do the aches and pain increase as you age, but so do the number of criminals who seek to target the elderly. An article published by the Chicago Sun-Times tells about a suburban Chicago psychologist who took advantage of Medicare beneficiaries living in skilled nursing homes. (She bilked the government program of nearly half a million dollars before being caught.)

The article reports that the licensed psychologist submitted thousands of false claims for psychotherapy services she supposedly provided. However, many of her patients were actually deceased and some of the dates she reported service on were actually spent in Las Vegas and San Diego. She often inflated the number of hours worked by more than 24 hours in a single day. (Who wouldn’t be super-efficient with a couple of extra hours during the day?)

The ruse, which continued for nearly four years, involved the submission of false claims totaling more than $1.1 million. (Unfortunately, Medicare reimbursed her $447,155 for the illegal claims.)

The 60-year-old is facing up to 10 years in prison plus a $250,000 fine. She also was required to forfeit more than $100,000 seized from her home and bank account.

While aging is not for sissies, you could surmise that going to prison is. This woman’s cowardly, illegal actions will definitely have consequences. (While it remains to be seen what her sentence will actually be, she’ll likely have time to think about why she committed the crime in the first place.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Northwest Suburban Psychologist Pleads Guilty to Medicare Fraud,” written by Jordan Owen and published by the Chicago Sun-Times on May 27, 2015.

A northwest suburban psychologist pleaded guilty Wednesday to defrauding Medicare as part of a nationwide fraud strike force takedown.

Sharon A. Rinaldi, 60, was charged with submitting false claims to Medicare in a five-count indictment in October 2012, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office.

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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.