The Downside of Not Thinking Straight

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Drugs can turn anyone into a monster, and when you compound a narcotics addiction with existing mental health problems, it’s advisable to be prepared for the worst. The Fairborn Daily Herald walks readers through a pair of drug-addled Ohio residents’ descent into a life of crime, to fund their methamphetamine habit. (The ‘not thinking straight’ defense was quite an understatement.)The two went to great lengths to steal and sell people’s identities, committing a lengthy list of crimes with far-reaching and devastating effects.

The report traces how the pair, a man and a woman, illegally collected an abundance of people’s identities, by stealing everything from birth certificates and marriage licenses to social security numbers, tax forms, checks and credit cards. (Scam-a-lam-ding-dong!)

But the manner in which they got their hands on people’s private information was just as invasive as the act itself. According to one victim, who spoke emotionally during a court hearing, the addicts completely bulldozed her family’s sense of security when they stole a car and other items from their home. The victim testified about the larger social effect of such violations, alleging that the female defendant’s teenage son, who was pulled into the scam, once described the thrill of violating innocent citizens as ”the best time of his life,” in a formal statement to a detective. (”Can we play ‘Robbers and Frauders’ again, mom?”)

By the time they were caught, the female defendant had amassed more than 20 charges, ranging from burglary, theft and forgery to receiving stolen property and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. She pleaded guilty to 13 of the 21 charges and her attorney offered an apology on her behalf, attributing the violations to serious drug abuse and other mental health issues. (And yet she chose to remain silent in the hearing.)

Ultimately, the defendants were each sentenced to 16 years in prison, and the woman was ordered to pay about $19,000 in restitution to the people she victimized. (If only she could also restore her victims’ sense of safety in their own homes.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on, ”’Twack Pack’ leader sentenced,” written by Nathan Pilling and published by the Fairborn Daily Herald on March 24, 2016.

XENIA — The alleged leader of the ”Twack Pack” crime ring was sentenced to 16 years in prison Thursday for her roles in the group’s activities in Greene County about a year ago. Theresa Kennedy, 34, of Fairborn, is the second of two members of the group to be sent to prison for crimes in the county. Earlier this month, Kevin Palmer, 26, was also sentenced to 16 years in prison for his roles with the group in Greene County.

According to Sugarcreek Township Police Detective Lesley Stayer, the group operated in the greater Dayton area by stealing checks, credit cards, birth certificates, social security cards and other identity information to sell to purchase meth from a producer nicknamed ”Methgyver.” According to Stayer, Kennedy was involved in several forms of identity theft via marriage licenses, credit cards and tax forms.

Kennedy pleaded guilty to 13 of 21 charges against her in Greene County in December 2015 as part of a plea deal, including an engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity charge, as well as burglary, theft, forgery and receiving stolen property charges, among others.

Kennedy was also ordered to pay about $19,000 in restitution to the victims.

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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.