A Different Kind of Washington Cartel

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Most of us can agree that there’s little worse than stealing from children. Unfortunately, kids are an easy target, and especially those whom have been in trouble with the law. The Washington Post has the story of an employee at the D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, who was caught supplying a massive identity theft ring with personally identifiable information for around 645 youth offenders.

Apparently, a local barbershop owner organized more than 130 people into the crime ring. (Might want to think twice before you blab about your personal life to the man behind the chair!)Together they illegally filed and claimed tax refunds worth more than $42 million. Investigators also discovered that the minors’ information, supplied by the juvenile justice worker, resulted in about $2.4 million in fraudulent refunds.

Ultimately, authorities busted the entire ring and at least 20 participants have since pleaded guilty to various charges. The juvenile justice worker did, eventually, admit to his role in the scheme and was sentenced to four years in prison. (He’ll be confined to the real kind of lock-up, for grown-ups.) He also must repay the IRS almost $2 million.

The fact of the matter is, all children are vulnerable, and those whom have been in a bit of trouble are especially easy to exploit. Unfortunately, some are provided a social worker or other representative whom isn’t concerned with their best interest but, actually, is actively working against it.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on, ”Ex-D.C. juvenile justice worker sentenced in $42 million tax and ID-theft ring,” a report written by Spencer S. Hsu and published by The Washington Post on May 3, 2016.

A federal judge sentenced a former D.C. juvenile justice worker to four years in prison Tuesday for helping steal at least $2.4 million in fraudulent federal income tax refunds by giving an identity-theft ring personal information about 645 youth offenders, U.S. authorities said.

Marc A. Bell, 49, of Bowie, Md., admitted that while working at the D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services from 2005 to 2013, he became a key source for an identity-theft ring. The ring, led by a Southeast Washington barbershop owner, included more than 130 people and claimed refunds of more than $42 million. U.S. District Judge Ellen S. Huvelle in the District also ordered Bell to repay nearly $2 million to the Internal Revenue Service. Prosecutors said Bell is among about 20 individuals who have pleaded guilty, including Kevin Brown, 45, owner of the Classic Kutz barbershop.

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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.