A Proper Punishment


We have the privilege to live in a democratic country where we’ve created a justice system to deliver proper punishment when needed. But how do we define ”proper” punishment? Perhaps we should just flip a coin? heads for five years, tails for 10 years. According to an article from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), Social Security Administration (SSA), one Washington, DC man may receive a light sentence for a hefty profit that he bilked from the federal government.

Agencies are coming down on individuals who take advantage of a benefit system intended to help those really in need. Combined efforts from the OIG for SSA and the OIG for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) brought justice to a DC fraudster who misused more than $340,000 in government funds. (Ok, how many years are we talking?) The fraudster faces a statutory maximum of 10 years in prison; however, under federal sentencing guidelines he will likely face 18 to 24 months of incarceration. (Ok, now how did we go from 10 years to 18 months?) What crime in particular enabled the fraudster to reap the benefits of over $300k?

After pleading guilty to theft of government funds, the fraudster admitted he received and negotiated U.S. Treasury checks for retirement and annuity benefits addressed to his mother, who passed away in February 1999. Instead of reporting the death to the SSA and OPM, the man continued to cash in on the checks from March 1999 to June 2012.Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”DC Man Pleads Guilty to Theft of More Than $340,000 in Government Funds,” published by the OIG, SSA on May 23, 2013.

Eugene Weatherford, 60, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty today to a federal charge stemming from the theft of more than $340,000 in government money, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., Michael McGill, Special Agent in Charge from the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General, and Patrick E. McFarland, Inspector General for the Office of Personnel Management.

Weatherford, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to theft of government funds. The Honorable Richard W. Roberts scheduled sentencing for Aug. 13, 2013. Weatherford faces a statutory maximum of 10 years in prison. Under federal sentencing guidelines, he faces a likely range of 18 to 24 months of incarceration.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.