Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees


Contrary to popular belief, money doesn’t grow on trees. (However, a Virginia woman seemed to think that the government had an endless supply of free benefits to choose from despite the fact that she did not qualify for them.) Over seven months, she harvested more than $13,000 in public assistance benefits by lying on her application form.

The Department of Social Services in the county where the woman resided received an anonymous tip that she was claiming welfare benefits for a child that did not live with her. (The woman claimed that her 2-year-old son was living under her roof, when he was actually living with someone else.) As a result of incorrect information provided on her benefits application, the deceptive mother received food stamps and medical care.

During an interview at the Department of Social Services office, the woman was informed that she would be receiving a visit at her home where the child supposedly resided. (That news upset the woman. She lost her temper during the interview and left the meeting muttering profanities. That definitely did not bode well.)

Subsequently, the 29-year-old woman pleaded guilty to welfare fraud and received a five-year sentence with all but a year-and-a-half suspended. Perhaps while serving out her time in prison, she’ll have a better understanding of how things operate in the world of government benefits.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, ”Stafford woman to serve 18 months for getting more than $13,000 via welfare fraud,” published by The Free Lance-Star on August 12, 2016.

A Stafford County woman was ordered Thursday to serve a year and a half in prison for receiving more than $13,000 in public assistance benefits that she was not entitled to.

Michelle Antionette Thompson, 29, pleaded guilty to welfare fraud in Stafford Circuit Court. Judge Charles Sharp sentenced her to five years in prison with all but a year and a half suspended.

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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.