Three Strikes

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Close-up Of A Businessperson's Hand Giving Cheque To Colleague At Workplace

Andrea Perez Placencia, 59, of Springfield, Mass., is like many fraudsters who have success with government benefits fraud. They typically branch out and try to steal benefits from other government programs to throw investigators off their trail. (Except in today’s case, Perez Placencia didn’t do such a great job of that.)

The Dominican national committed Social Security fraud and Section 8 housing fraud by using the stolen identity of an unlucky citizen from Puerto Rico. (That’s three types of fraud she failed at. Three strikes and she’s out!)

Between August 2017 and August 2018, Perez Placencia used the identity of a Puerto Rican victim to apply for and receive Social Security disability benefits. Her illegal actions enabled her to receive approximately $12,570 from the Social Security Administration.

Then between April 2019 and February 2021, Perez Placencia also used the stolen identity to apply for and receive $17,380 in Section 8 housing assistance benefits through the Housing Choice Voucher Program. (This government program is for very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled who need a decent and safe place to live. It’s not for criminals who steal from those less fortunate to live the “good life.”)

Perez Placencia pleaded guilty to one count of false representation of a Social Security number and two counts of theft of government money. The fraudster was sentenced to one year and a day in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. In addition, Perez Placenia was also ordered to pay restitution of $32,029.

Ironically, Perez Placencia did end up in government sponsored housing after all. (Although, her new digs were probably not what she had expected. Perhaps she’ll have time to reflect on all the people she has harmed with her illegal actions while serving time behind bars.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a Department of Justice press release, “Dominican National Sentenced for Misusing a Social Security Number and Stealing Government Benefits,” dated December 22, 2021.

BOSTON – A Dominican national previously residing in Springfield was sentenced today in connection with using another individual’s identity to fraudulently obtain government benefits.

Andrea Perez Placencia, 59, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni to one year and one day in prison and three years of supervised release. Perez Placencia also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $32,029. On Sept. 20, 2021, Perez Placencia pleaded guilty to one count of false representation of a Social Security number and two counts of theft of government money.

 

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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.