Fraud Upon Fraud

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Desperation is a dangerous state of mind. The Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal has the story of one mother in Maine, who, in addition to submitting falsified applications for welfare, sold her son’s prescription ADHD medication for cash—and did so within a drug-free zone.

According to the report, this Mainer’s legal problems began in 2014, when she attempted to illegally secure welfare benefits by submitting fraudulent materials to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). These materials included forged notes that appeared to be written by people such as her father, a landlord and a property manager, and were meant to serve as evidence of precarious housing accommodations. (Tough love won out—none of them backed her lies.) Perhaps not surprisingly, she got caught and was hit with forgery charges that together could have brought a maximum prison sentence of thirty years.

But before the state even had a chance to hold a trial, she made another attempt to pilfer welfare benefits. As a result of a false claim she made to DHHS, stating that her young son lived with her, the agency paid her an excess $842. To make matters even worse, the woman attempted to coerce two witnesses into lying to investigators on her behalf. (At least her bail was then revoked to put an end to this downward spiral.)

Authorities hit this sloppy scammer with a lengthy list of subsequent charges, including forgery, theft, witness tampering, aggravated trafficking of a scheduled drug—all felonies—and violating a condition of her release—a misdemeanor. She pleaded guilty to almost all of the second set of charges; she ended up pleading guilty to a lower drug charge and, for that, was hit with a $400 fine. For the theft charge related to her collection of benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and MaineCare, the state’s Medicaid program, she received a five-year prison sentence with all but nine months suspended. She received a nine-month prison sentence for the forgery charge, an additional nine months for witness tampering and another six months for violating the conditions of her release.

Then she pleaded guilty to three charges of aggravated forgery, related to her original attempt to defraud DHHS. She was given six years in prison with 54 months suspended for one count and nine-month prison sentences for the other two, which she will serve concurrently with the first sentence. (In case you’re having trouble keeping track, the bottom line is 18 months behind bars.) She also must pay $3,323 in restitution to DHHS. Once she gets out of prison, she will serve three years of probation, must enroll in and complete a substance abuse treatment program and may be subject to random searches and drug testing.

Attempting to steal more from the government after you have had already been caught? There aren’t enough get out of jail free cards in the world for that one.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on, ”Auburn woman pleads guilty to welfare fraud,” written by Christopher Williams and published by Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal on March 17, 2016.

AUBURN — A local woman who forged state welfare documents, sold her son’s prescription medicine and urged two witnesses to lie for her was sentenced Thursday to 18 months behind bars.

Jamie Childs, 31, of 21 Spring St. pleaded guilty to three felony counts of aggravated forgery. She had faced a total of 30 years in prison.

On one of the charges, Childs agreed to a sentence of six years in prison, with all of that time suspended except for 18 months. On each of the other two charges, she was sentenced to nine months in jail to be served at the same time as the sentence on the first charge.

Childs must pay $3,323.41 in restitution to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

After her release, she will be on probation for three years. During that time, she will be barred from having or using alcohol and illegal drugs and can be searched and tested for both at random. She also must undergo complete substance abuse counseling and treatment.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.