Running Out of Excuses

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People use excuses for many reasons, but mostly because it’s easier than admitting to the truth. A stor? posted on Fox59.com tells about a woman who made multiple excuses to hide the fact that she lived with the decaying body of her dead husband in order to collect government benefits.

The article reports that the dead man’s friend became suspicious when he had not heard from him for approximately nine months. The friend contacted the man’s caretaker, who claimed she was the man’s wife, to inquire about him. The caretaker/wife claimed that the 88-year-old man was out touring the country in an RV. (I guess he likes to vacation without his wife.)

Apparently, the friend alerted local law enforcement and the police paid a visit to the man’s home to check on him. The woman answered the door and told the police officers that she was the man’s wife and informed them that he had suffered a stroke and was now living in an assisted living facility, claiming he needed a feeding tube to eat. (The plot thickens.)

The policeman did not buy the story and entered the home only to find a tarp on the living room floor covering a decomposing body. (Talk about hiding evidence in plain sight.) An autopsy later revealed that the man had died nine months prior, but the cause and manner of death were not known.

While the dead man’s body lay in the middle of his living room for nearly a year, his wife allegedly collected benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Social Security Administration and from his pension. Because the man’s death was not reported, the woman was able to collect approximately $25,000. (The story notes that she held a joint account with the man and was his power of attorney.)

It’s a given that the woman at the center of this case has finally run out of excuses. (Hiding a dead body in plain sight is a difficult thing to explain.) While it is important to remember that the woman is innocent until proven guilty, she will definitely have to answer some tough questions when she faces the Judge.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Police: Woman Faces Fraud Charges After Living for Months with Husband’s Decomposed Body,” written by Matt Adams and posted on Fox59.com on October 10, 2014.

Lafayette police said Ila Solomon was arrested Thursday night after an investigation into the death of 88-year-old Gerald Gavan. Gavan was found dead in May 2014, but investigators said he died in July 2013.

Charges against her include welfare fraud, theft, failure to report a dead body, unlawful disposition of a dead human body and failure to file a certificate of death.

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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.