The Mechanics of Fraud

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26082954 - social security card, money and stock market numbers

Social Security disability fraud costs taxpayers billions of dollars per year. One of the most common ways scammers steal from the government program is by hiding the fact they are working while collecting undeserved benefits. (Otherwise known as double-dipping.) A Northfield, New Hampshire mechanic chose this popular method of defrauding the Social Security Administration (SSA) but got caught when investigators started looking under the hood of his disability claim.

To receive Social Security disability insurance benefits, a qualifying individual must have a medical disability that prevents them from being gainfully employed. Today’s fraudster claimed to be unable to work since the beginning of 2011. He applied for Social Security disability insurance benefits in May 2012. (That begs the question that if he couldn’t work during that time, how did he survive without a paycheck?)

Ironically, while claiming to be unable to make an honest living, the dishonest man from New Hampshire was working as a mechanic while applying for Social Security disability insurance benefits. (He tried to stuff the truth in his trunk, hoping investigators would not look there.)

By October 2013, the mechanic secured approval to receive government benefits. Even though the New Hampshire man knew he was required to report if he was working, he chose to be deceptive knowing that his benefits would be cancelled if the SSA discovered he was submitting false information on purpose. (He lied his way through receiving disability benefits for approximately three-and-a-half years.)

When individuals such as today’s fraudster start lying, they have to continue doing it to keep their scam running smoothly. The mechanic’s well-tuned fraud engine backfired when he lied during a 2016 in-person work activity review. He also admitted to an investigator from the Office of Inspector General that he had worked since 2008. Then, he ran out of gas during a 2017 audit by the Department of Motor Vehicle inspections. The mechanic told State Police he worked an average of 47 hours per week as a mechanic and a state vehicle inspector. (This was when the engine light came on.)

The 50-year-old man from Northfield, New Hampshire pleaded guilty to Social Security disability fraud. (Sentencing has been scheduled for the deceptive man who turned out to be a lemon.)

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Northfield man pleads guilty to making false statements to obtain benefits,” published by New Hampshire Union Leader on November 13, 2018.

Robert Gallagher Sr., 50, will be sentenced Feb. 21, said U.S. Attorney Scott W. Murray on Monday.

Gallagher managed and worked as a mechanic while also applying for benefits, prosecutors said.

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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.