Tyranny of Fraud

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A tyrant can be defined as someone in a position of authority who uses his or her power in a harmful way. Fraud is tyrannous and – when it comes to government benefits fraud – it usually starts out with someone who uses his or her influence to unlawfully gain access to government benefits to which he or she is not entitled. Fraudsters not only harm beneficiaries, who qualify for assistance, but also punish taxpayers who help pay for the benefits in the first place. (And as if that wasn’t bad enough, law abiding citizens then get hit with another bill for the criminal’s prison time.) The Department of Justice issued a news release announcing the case of an owner of an ambulance service in Texas, who used her company to bill Medicare for approximately $2.4 million in fraudulent claims.

The release states that the owner and operator of Urgent Response EMS – an emergency ambulance service that provided assistance to Medicare beneficiaries in Houston – submitted false claims over a two-year period for services that were medically unnecessary or not provided. Court records showed that along with co-conspirators, the 53-year-old owner falsified records that misrepresented the patients’ condition in order to file the claims.

The fraudster was convicted by a jury after a three-day trial on one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and four counts of health care fraud. She is looking at serving up to 50 years in prison when sentenced.

The only thing ”urgent” about this fraudster’s ambulatory service was the speed at which the owner filed falsified claims. She was expedient with committing a crime, but there will be nothing fast about the tyrant’s prison sentence. It looks like she will be serving out her sentence for a long time to come.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on ”Owner of Texas-based Ambulance Service Convicted of Health Care Fraud,” issued on October 31, 2013.

WASHINGTON – A federal jury in Houston has convicted Gwendolyn Climmons-Johnson, 53, of multiple counts of health care fraud for submitting false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for ambulance services.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas made the announcement.

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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.