How Low Can a Fraudster Go?

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It’s bad enough when a fraudster scams one benefit program, but it takes a pretty devious mind to scam multiple programs all at the same time. An article in The Washington Times reports on a Florida woman who received more than $300,000 in government benefits that she was not qualified for and definitely didn’t deserve.

The article states that in 2003, the woman was able to obtain monthly checks from the Broward County Housing authority allowing her to live in not one, but two homes. (Anyone suspicious yet?) Apparently she qualified for assistance by lying about her marital status, bank accounts and ownership of multiple businesses. The couple received money for being both the landlord and tenant of the two homes they owned.

Meanwhile, the fraudster and her husband (Did I mention he was living in the U.S. illegally?) were living a luxurious lifestyle in one of their homes located on a one-acre manicured lot with a swimming pool, a Mercedes, a boat and a greenhouse. (Who knew criminals enjoyed gardening? Scamming the government is kind of like growing money on trees.) The article states that the couple was able to collect between $305,000 and $377,000 in food stamps (I guess she didn’t grow any vegetables), housing assistance and Medicaid benefits by using two Social Security numbers.

The woman was sentenced to more than four years in jail and was ordered to pay nearly $284,000 in restitution. The husband was sentenced to one day short of a year in jail and was ordered to pay $9,999 in restitution.

This woman stooped pretty low to take money that was allocated for the poor and disabled. She had the ability to provide for herself, but decided to scam honest taxpayers. She can say goodbye to her luxurious lifestyle and hello to a much more frugal existence in jail.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Fla Woman Sentenced in Government Fraud Case,” published in The Washington Times on April 11, 2014.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Authorities say a woman who collected more than $300,000 in government assistance has been sentenced to 51 months in prison.

During a hearing on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Ryskamp said the conduct of Gloria Valle-Clas is ”about as low as it gets.” He also ordered her to $283,359 in restitution.

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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.