Hoist the Surrender Flag

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Let’s take it to the open seas? Are you familiar with pirate history? Perhaps you’ve read about Blackbeard’s infamous capture of South Carolina in 1718. If not, you’ve surely seen at least one chapter of the recent pirate movie sequels. You know the drill? cannon balls fly between ships and the battle is fought to the death, unless one hoists the surrender flag. Although pirate fights are now left to the big screens, the method of surrendering has become quite prominent in the world of fraud. According to an article in MLive, one Michigan fraudster hoisted her surrender flag at the last moment, taking a plea deal for her participation in welfare fraud.

The Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) is a state program that provides welfare assistance to Michigan residents in need of additional funding for housing, food and cash assistance etc. An investigation discovered a Bay City woman falsified statements on her DHS application and squeezed a little more assistance out of the program than she was eligible for. A Michigan DHS report claimed? ”The subject, [name], acknowledged an understanding to report information truthfully and to report all changes to her household.’? But how much did things in the household change between October 1, 2008 and July 31, 2010 to render the fraudster less eligible for benefits?

Investigators found that during October 2008 and July 2010, the woman neglected to inform Michigan DHS that the father of her children moved into her home and continued to live there from July 2009 onward. In addition, she did not notify DHS that she was the recipient of disability benefits. Court documents show she had signed a statement five separate times during that period, explaining her understanding of the necessity of providing truthful information. (Omission is just the same as lying.) The fraudster received a total of $8,016, only $3,821 being lawful, leaving $4,195 as fraudulent. As she entered the court for her sentencing, she took a last minute plea bargain, pleading guilty to one count of welfare fraud more than $500, failure to inform, a four-year felony. (Talk about a last minute surrender!) Her sentencing is scheduled for mid-July 2013.

While Michigan is far from the ocean, and less inclined to pirate surrenders, the surrender of a welfare fraudster is a win the government will take. I say make her walk the plank into jail.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Bay City Woman Pleads Guilty to Charge Connected to $5,000 Welfare Fraud,” written by Cole Waterman and published by MLive on June 6, 2013.

BAY CITY, MI — The day her trial was to begin on charges of scamming the Michigan Department of Human Services out of nearly $5,000 in welfare funds, a Bay City woman instead chose to accept a plea deal.

Jill J. Eastman, 36, on Tuesday, June 4, appeared in Bay County Circuit Court and pleaded guilty to one count of welfare fraud more than $500, failure to inform, a four-year felony. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to dismiss a count of welfare fraud more than $500.

 

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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.