One-Man Crime Wave

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When Robert Lee Snowden, of Owings Mills, Md., was laid off as a temp at a healthcare business, he launched a lucrative new career. From 2013 until well into 2020, he conspired to defraud the Maryland Department of Human Services, the Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the “Food Stamp Program”), banks and credit unions, local utilities, and the COVID-19 Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. (Was there an agency he didn’t try to scam?)

Snowden stole healthcare professionals’ personal identifying information from his prior employer, using 220+ stolen identities to obtain more than $1 million in SNAP benefits. He also used his victims’ identities to open internet, phone, and electric accounts at his residence. (Waste not, want not, so to speak.)

Along with his partner in fraud, Larae Betrand, Snowden then used fake employment information to obtain more than $92K for four auto loans. With the advent of COVID, Snowden used a previously stolen identity to establish a fictitious business and apply for a COVID-19 SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan. (Seems as though he was an economic injury disaster himself.) Fortunately, law enforcement shut him down before he could complete the loan.

After pleading guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, Snowden faces up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud, and a minimum of two years (consecutive to any other sentence) for identity theft. He must also pay more than $1 million in restitution. Betrand pleaded guilty to the same charges and will be ordered to pay at least $5,000 in restitution. (The couple that scams together, pays together.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, “Serial Fraudster Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges Related to Multiple Fraud Schemes Resulting in Losses of More Than $1 Million,” dated March 26, 2021.

Baltimore, Maryland – Robert Lee Snowden Jr., age 45, of Owings Mills, Maryland, pleaded guilty on March 22, 2021, to the federal charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to aggravated identity theft, in connection with a series of fraud schemes perpetrated between 2013 and 2020.

The guilty plea was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner; Special Agent in Charge Bethanne M. Dinkins of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General; Postal Inspector in Charge Peter R. Rendina of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service – Washington Division; and Inspector General Marva Sutherland of the Office of Inspector General for the Maryland Department of Human Services.

 

 

 

 

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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.