A Trail of Fraud


For some criminals, fraud is self-perpetuating. One successful take leads to another and the cycle repeats, until they get caught. According to an article published in the Post Independent, a woman started out with one crime, got caught, pleaded guilty, served time, committed another crime, got caught, and so on to the point where she began committing crimes while serving time. (As a result, she ended up netting $37,000 in undeserved government benefits.)

The woman in this case had quite a lengthy criminal record. The story states that her first courtroom appearance was related to a fraud and theft case. Next, she pleaded guilty to a theft in another county. (Her sentence was deferred if she could behave, but alas, she could not.)Two years later, she was convicted of identity theft and stealing more than $8,000 through three thefts. (Add on another three years of probation.)Two years later, another theft sent her to a community corrections center. She pleaded guilty to theft and forgery at an insurance agency.

The day she pleaded guilty to theft in one county, she applied for food stamps in another county, as well as other benefits. According to court documents, the woman claimed she was not married on her welfare application even though she was and receiving monetary support from her husband. (His salary alone would have disqualified them from receiving government benefits.)She also claimed her daughter was living with her when she was not. And finally, the woman failed to note on her application that she was a felony probation violator. (Now that’s a big no-no for sure.)

Fast forward another two years to when she was sentenced to five years in a community corrections facility that offered an alternative-sentencing program for non-violent offenders. It was during her stay there that she pleaded guilty to stealing about $5,000 from an office supply store. That was enough to get her kicked out of the community corrections system and into the state prison system. (Finally, the repeat offender discovers the justice system just might be serious this time.)

The repeat offender was caught for welfare fraud when a county human services department received a tip that she had not reported income. Investigators followed the money trail and found three years of welfare fraud. She will spend another six years in state prison in addition to the five years she is currently serving. She will also have to pay $37,000 in restitution.

To lend a more human side to the case, the woman’s defense attorney cited that multiple health issues made her desperate for funds to facilitate hand surgeries estimated at $20,000. While at her hearing, the repeat offender told the judge that she had learned skills to help her be productive. (I’m not so sure that the rehabilitation programs helped her at all.)Thankfully, the judge was not lenient this time. (It looks like this criminal’s trail of fraud has finally come to the end where she’ll be camping out in prison for quite some time.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, ”Woman committed welfare fraud from jail,” published by the Post Independent on June 22, 2016.

EAGLE — Karen Iuele was already in jail in Garfield County when she committed welfare fraud in Eagle County, she admitted.

For that, she’ll spend another six years in state prison — in addition to the five years she’s already serving — and has to repay $37,000. District Court Judge Paul Dunkelman handed down the sentence Wednesday afternoon.

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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.