This Spells Trouble


Many doctors are accused of having bad handwriting. But one who can’t spell his or her own name? That’s going to trigger a fraud alert. The Daily News reports that a spelling error on a New York welfare claim inspired authorities to double-check its validity. (See? Autocorrect does serve a purpose, after all.)

According to the report, a woman submitted a medical statement to the Genesee County Department of Social Services (DSS) that she claimed had been issued by a doctor, whose name was misspelled on the form. (Who knew it was so perilous to ignore autocorrect?)

Unfortunately for her, an examiner caught the error and a subsequent investigation led to the 32-year-old woman’s guilty plea to second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument. She was sentenced to four months of jail time followed by five years of probation. (Copy this sentence 5,000 times: I must not commit fraud.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on, ”Alexander woman gets jail for welfare fraud,” published by The Daily News on May 27, 2016.

An Alexander woman was sentenced Thursday to four months of intermittent jail time, in connection with a welfare fraud case. Sarah Wilson, 32, of Alexander Road had pleaded guilty on March 31 to second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument.

Wilson had submitted a forged medical statement to the Genesee County Department of Social Services. She had claimed the statement was completed by a doctor. An alert social welfare examiner noticed the doctor’s name was spelled incorrectly, which led to an investigation by the DSS and county Sheriff’s Office.

Besides the jail time, Wilson will serve five years of probation.

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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.