Poster Child

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The only thing worse than being prosecuted for fraud is becoming the poster child for fraud. That is the case for a Fitchburg, Massachusetts man who tried to get away with more than $8,000 in unemployment benefits he did not deserve. The New Hampshire Department of Employment Security decided to make an example of him and his unemployment fraud scheme by using his story in the Department of Employment Security Benefits and Rights Interview. (This process discusses what happens to someone in the event they commit unemployment fraud.)

The man from Fitchburg filed for and received $8,113 in unemployment benefits from New Hampshire’s unemployment agency over a period of four months despite already having a job. The Department of Employment Security provides unemployment compensation benefits to people who are unemployed through no fault of their own. (This guy was not unemployed, he was two-timing the agency by working a job and collecting unemployment benefits at the same time.)

The Fitchburg fraudster pleaded guilty to unemployment fraud and received a sentence of one year in the House of Corrections. Lucky for him, all but 20 days of the sentence were suspended for six months. (As long as he behaves that is.) He must also pay restitution and fines of $9,735 and in addition to being a poster child for what not to do when it comes to collecting unemployment benefits.

The court made a good decision when they disqualified him from receiving unemployment compensation benefits for 52 weeks. (Seems like he’d lose the ability to file for unemployment benefits in the future due to his crime.) Let’s hope that this fraudster has learned an important lesson and will serve as a poster child for how to behave when given a second chance.

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article, “Fitchburg man guilty of jobless fraud,” published by Sentinel & Enterprise on May 12, 2019.  

CONCORD, N.H. — Fitchburg’s John Lawson pleaded guilty and was sentenced on one count of unemployment fraud, a Class B felony, in Merrimack Superior Court, according to New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald and Department of Employment Security Commissioner George Copadis.

Between July 4, 2015 and Nov. 7, 2015, Lawson filed for unemployment benefits while knowingly failing to disclose his employment. As a result, Lawson fraudulently received $8,113 in unemployment benefits.

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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.