Fraud Knows No Borders

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Some of us have grown so accustomed to the widespread use of identity theft for financial gain that we forget about the other terrible crimes a person could commit in our name. According to a report by centralmaine.com, some poor man in Ohio had his name fraudulently added to the Maine Sex Offender Registry by his identity thief.

This story traces back to the early 1990s, when a Canadian fugitive illegally enters the United States. (Not on the acceptable imports list.) In 1994, he lands in a Florida prison and becomes familiar with another inmate—an American. Years later, the American, who has since moved to Ohio, applies for federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, aka food stamps. But his application is denied on the basis that he is already receiving SNAP benefits in Maine. (It’s ironic that his need for public assistance is what revealed the scam perpetrated in his name.)

As it turns out, the Canadian fugitive he’d met in prison all those years ago has stolen his Social Security number, along with his identity. Using the American’s name, the Canadian goes on to collect nearly $6,000 in SNAP benefits through the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

Are you ready for the clincher? At some point, the Canadian—still pretending to be the Ohio man—commits a sex crime and is ordered to register in the Maine Sex Offender Registry. (You know where this is going). At this point, he’s so far in that he can’t possibly register under his real name, so he registers as the American. (Gotta stay consistent.) So he’s effectively turned a poor, hungry man in Ohio into a sex offender (at least, on paper), in a state the Ohio man probably has never even visited.

The (thin) silver lining here is that the SNAP coincidence surfaces this longstanding, devastating case of identity theft. Ultimately, the Canadian fugitive lands in front of a federal judge and pleads guilty to charges of theft of public money and aggravated identity theft. He is sentenced to more than three years in federal prison and ordered to pay $5,923 in restitution, after which he will be returned to Canada. (Take off, to the Great White North!)

As far as implications go, these crimes really speak for themselves. Aside from the moral and ethical catastrophe of stealing someone’s identity and committing atrocious crimes using their name, there are, no doubt, hefty costs attached to unraveling and repairing such extensive fraud.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on, ”Gardiner man imprisoned for identity theft, welfare fraud,” written by Betty Adams and published by Centralmaine.com on March 22, 2016.

According to the prosecutor’s version of events, Bond is a Canadian citizen who has been living illegally in the United States by using a series of identities since 1994.

Bond, who used an Ohio man’s identity — identified in court documents by the initials D.E.M. — had sought and received a total of $5,900 in federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits in 2007 through the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

”The defendant’s wrongful conduct was discovered when the actual D.E.M. applied for benefits in his home state and was denied because the defendant was already receiving funds in Maine under DEM’s name,” wrote the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Ruge.

The case was investigated by a Detective James Gioia, of the Maine attorney general’s office, and Loren Thresher, special agent with Homeland Security Investigations.

Investigators found that both Bond — then using the McKay name — and D.E.M. had been in the Sarasota County (Florida) Jail together in 1994 and that afterward Bond began using D.E.M.’s personal data.

It also found that Bond, using D.E.M.’s name, has been listed on the Maine Sex Offender registry since November 2009. The investigation also found that Bond was born in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia and is listed as a fugitive in Canada.

Bond was represented by attorney Terence Harrigan.

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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.