Working Hard at Not Working

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Most people work hard to earn their paycheck. They put in long hours and are conscientious about doing a good job for their employer. Fraudsters on the other hand, work long hard hours to cheat others and don’t care how their actions impact their victims. Today’s fraudster assumed multiple identities and fabricated a past employment record to obtain thousands of dollars in government benefits he did not deserve.

The 76-year-old man at the center of the case was a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Long Island, New York. While working as a CPA and collecting Social Security retirement benefits, he created a false identity after obtaining a second Social Security number and a New York State driver’s license under an assumed name. (I bet he got the personal information from a client.) Once he had those documents, he also fabricated a fictitious former employment record listing four businesses, and used them to fraudulently obtain additional Social Security retirement, unemployment insurance and public assistance benefits worth $124,275.

When the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce and federal investigators took a closer look at the CPA, they discovered that he did not report his income while working as a CPA. They also found that he had applied for and received $48,775 worth of federally-funded unemployment insurance benefits in New York and New Jersey under his real and fake identities. His eligibility for receiving government benefits was tied to his loss of employment from the bogus jobs. (It turns out that the businesses he supposedly worked for no longer existed and they had never declared wages for him in the first place.)

Over the three-year scam, he also received $12,500 in welfare benefits including food stamps and home energy assistance. He qualified for the government benefits because he did not report income from the fake jobs in New Jersey and New York, his income as a CPA or Social Security retirement benefits he received under a fake identity during that time. (This guy was juggling a lot of fraud.) The investigators also determined that he received an additional $63,000 in Social Security benefits as well. And if that were not enough, he also stole and deposited a $440,000 check that belonged to a client.

The senior fraudster pleaded guilty to fraud charges and is due in court for sentencing. If convicted, he could serve up to 10 years in prison. (And he could lose his second home, a Florida beachfront condo as well.) If only criminals would put as much effort into working hard at holding down a legitimate job as they do in carrying out fraud schemes, they might find that the riches would come much easier and not involve a stint behind bars.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, ”LI accountant pleads guilty in fraud scheme,” published by Long Island Business News on October 24, 2016.

A Long Island certified public accountant, who collected welfare while owning a Florida beachfront condo and a home in Suffolk County, pleaded guilty to fraud charges, federal officials said Monday.

Abraham Grossman of Yaphank pleaded guilty to charges surrounding creating a fake identity and a bogus employment record as part of a $124,275 Social Security, unemployment insurance and welfare fraud scheme, according to New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott.

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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.