Falsifying Family Ties


One questionable parenting technique? Exploiting your kids for government services, as did one New York mom, who falsely claimed to the state’s Department of Social Services that she had her two children in her custody. The Batavian reports that the woman successfully enrolled in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and cheated them out of nearly $11,000. (Which is probably more money than she’d rake in as a ”pageant parent.”

After Social Services caught the inaccuracy, the state charged the woman with one count of third-degree grand larceny in the third and seven counts of offering a false instrument for filing (read: welfare fraud). The state went on to suggest that, should this mom-of-the-year plead guilty to just one count of offering a false instrument for filing, the court would accept her guilty plea in satisfaction of the original eight counts.

Ultimately, the woman was ordered to pay back the $10,437 in public assistance and food stamps she stole, permanently disqualified from receiving monetary aid through either of the programs she swindled (because even the government knows that cheaters rarely change their ways) and sentenced to five years of probation. (She also was strongly discouraged from watching ‘Here Comes Honey Boo Boo’ reruns).

This case should issue an important warning for welfare worms across the country: when receiving state-sponsored family benefits, at some point you may need to prove that your dependents, well, actually depend on you. (And if that’s not enough of a deterrent, try to remember that attorneys always charge more than the government pays.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on ”Woman gets probation in welfare fraud case,” posted by Howard B. Jones at The Batavian on January 6, 2016.

A 25-year-old Le Roy resident who admitted to cheating the system out of $10,437 in public assistance and food stamps was sentenced in County Court today to five years probation.

Jessica Horton was also ordered to pay back the money obtained under false pretenses.

Horton was accused in August of filing documents with the Department of Social Services claiming that her two children were living with her when they were not.

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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.