Some Habits Are Hard To Break

11941577 - pills and money - business medical background

Note to self: While working on one’s car in a public space, the convenience of balancing highly addictive narcotics on its hood may be outweighed by the risk of being detained—especially if the vehicle may have been stolen. (This has been your ”Courtesy Common Sense Advice” for today. Check back in tomorrow for more mind-blowing tips!)If only the North Carolina man that The News-Herald refers to as a ”habitual felon” had taken this to heart.

Following a lead about a stolen car in the Spring of 2014, sheriff’s deputies paid a visit to this man and they witnessed him attempt to conceal a prescription pill bottle filled with, what turned out to be, five grams of methamphetamine that he’d been keeping within reach. Fast forward one year, and the sheriff’s office gets a phone call from this very same man, who reports, with another person, that $13,000 worth of items have been stolen from their home. The two then proceeded to file an insurance claim—on a policy that they had purchased only five days prior. (Little did they know that the insurance industry has little faith in coincidences.)

County detectives worked their counterparts from the North Carolina Department of Insurance to conduct an investigation. Apparently, that’s all it took to pull a confession from this ”habitual felon,” who admitted that the break-in was fabricated and the insurance claim was fraudulent. He subsequently pleaded guilty to attempted insurance fraud and possession of methamphetamine and was sentenced by a North Carolina Superior Court judge to eight to eleven years in prison; a sentence that was enhanced because of his (you guessed it!) ”habitual felon status.”

Psychologists disagree on exactly how long it takes to break old habits and create new ones, but the span is typically measured in days, not years. So this fraudster will have plenty of practice.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on, ”Man sentenced for attempted insurance fraud,” a staff report published by The News-Herald on April 1, 2016.

A Morganton man and habitual felon could serve up to 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted insurance fraud.

On Tuesday, Superior Court Judge Yvonne Mims Evans, from Mecklenburg County, sentenced Danny Ray Brittain, 49, to between eight and 11 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to attempted insurance fraud and possession of methamphetamine. Brittain’s sentence was enhanced by his habitual felon status, which includes prior felony convictions in North Carolina dating back to 1984, according to a release from District Attorney David Learner’s office.

On May 22, 2014, deputies from the Burke County Sheriff’s Office went to Brittain’s residence about a lead on a stolen car. Brittain was working on a car when they arrived, and officers noticed him knock a prescription pill bottle off the car hood in an attempt to conceal it, according to the District Attorney’s Office. After getting the bottle from Brittain, officers found that it contained nearly 5 grams of methamphetamine, the release said.

On June 22, 2015, Brittain and a co-defendant contacted the Burke County Sheriff’s Office to report a breaking and entering at their residence, saying $13,000 worth of televisions, tools and other electronic equipment had been stolen, the release said. They filed an insurance claim on a policy that had been purchased just five days before the reported crime. Detectives from Burke County and the North Carolina Department of Insurance started an investigation, and Brittan confessed the break-in was faked and the insurance claim was fraudulent, the release from the District Attorney’s Office said.


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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.