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Parenting Don’ts

Senior Director of Strategic Alliances
LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

The things Moms do for their sons. Most moms just want their kids to know they love them. But sometimes they might do just a little too much to prove it. Zella Rives went too far. There could be a parenting book in the making after studying the case of Zella and her son Gino Rives titled, “What Not To Do.” But the book signings will be in prison.

In 2010, Zella Rives submitted paperwork on behalf of her son Gino Rives to the Social Security Administration, claiming disability on his behalf. Zella couldn’t have been further from the truth. His only disability was his need to fraud. But Zella didn’t mention that in her application. Along with claiming full disability on Ginos’s behalf, Zella happened to conceal Gino Rives’ construction and tree trimming work, his mixed martial arts career AND a 2009 conviction for financial exploitation of the elderly. She also concealed his ownership of multiple houses and vehicles. Upon being approved for disability benefits, Zella was appointed representative payee because the agency believed Gino was incapable of managing his money. Between May 11, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2023, the Social Security Administration electronically transmitted more than $91,000 in benefits to Rives on her son’s behalf.

On February 16, 2024, Zella Rives pleaded guilty to four counts of theft of government funds and one count of making a false statement. She is scheduled to be sentenced June 18. On October of 2023, Gino pleaded guilty to one count of access device fraud and one count of fraudulently effecting transactions and admitted exploiting two elderly women for years for over $500,000. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 14, 2024, for the elder fraud case and April 17, 2024, for the disability fraud case.

Great job by the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General with this case.

Today’s Fraud of The Day is based on article “St. Louis County woman admits helping her son fake a disability for more than 13 years” published by KTTN News on February 16, 2024

A woman from St. Louis County, Missouri on Thursday admitted helping her son fake a mental disability for more than 13 years so he could receive government benefits. Both were indicted in September 2023.
Zella Rives, 57, of Edmundson, admitted in a plea agreement and court that she submitted a report to the Social Security Administration in 2010 on behalf of her son, Gino Rives, that bolstered his false claims of disability.

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