Teaching Children to Lie


We were always taught never to lie. Whether punished in time out as a child, or punished in jail as adult, the consequences of lying have always been threatening. So, why – when the consequences are so in focus – is it so easy for some to fib? Perhaps it’s the promise of happiness, or the feelings of safety associated with hiding from the truth. Who knows? What’s clear is that lying is easier for some…especially if it’s for a little undeserved government aid.

According to today’s Fraud of the Day from the Oakland Tribune, a California couple is coming to grips with the consequences of lying. The couple, who pleaded guilty to defrauding the federal government for child care payments and food stamps, now faces a hefty fine and possible jail time for a scam that milked taxpayers of nearly $180,000 over nine years. The fraudsters at fault made a habit of lying about their marriage, true names, and housing situation to receive child care payments and food stamps, all while the husband was employed by Alameda County Sheriff’s Department as a recreational assistant in a local jail. (He worked at a jail and he still risked getting caught??? Although the scam may have seemed flawless in their eyes, they made some mistakes. An employee of the federal aid program discovered discrepancies in the yearly applications. (Didn’t they learn that a trail of lies always leads to trouble? You’re bound to slip up somewhere!)

After reviewing the case, the judge issued a plea deal, allowing the wife to pay $125,000 to the State Department of Education, before the husband’s sentencing in November. If the money is not paid in full by the time of her husband’s sentencing, the wife will have to serve two years in prison, and her husband will face possible jail time. (That’s certainly an incentive to pay back the money.)No official statement has been made about how the couple was able to continue the fraud for nine years. (Easy – agencies need to invest in public records and data analytics technology to find red flags for fraud!)

Nine years is a long time to tell the same lie. And from the looks of it, little mistakes led the fraudsters to an ultimatum – pay or go to jail. I suppose they couldn’t lie their way out of this one.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Alameda Couple Caught Stealing from the Government,” written by Paul T. Rosynsky and published by the Oakland Tribune on September 4, 2012.

OAKLAND — A married Alameda couple have recently accepted a plea deal admitting they defrauded the county and state out of more than $180,000 in child care payments and food stamps in what could be one of the largest child care fraud cases in recent county history.

Khadijah Ali and her husband Malik Ali, also known as Karl Grant, spent the last nine years lying to government officials about their true names, marriage and housing situation in order to qualify for government subsidized child care payments and food stamps for their three children.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.