Blank Check

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Having a blank check is almost like winning the lottery. Having access to the whole checkbook of blank checks is even better. An article published by The Portland Press Herald details how a woman used her deceased mother’s checkbook to write herself a few checks amounting to tens of thousands of dollars.

The article explains that the woman’s mother was legally receiving Social Security benefits as a surviving spouse of a retiree up until the time she died. After her mother’s death, the daughter had access to her checkbook and repeatedly withdrew cash from the regular Social Security deposits. (In fact, she wrote 16 checks totaling $31,496 for more than two years.)

The 66-year-old’s ruse ended after confessing to federal agents. She pleaded guilty to theft of public money, is facing 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

It is important to remember to notify the Social Security Administration as soon as possible when a loved one dies. (Obviously, this woman failed to do so because she was greedy and will now have to pay a price for her illegal actions.) She no longer has the ability to write herself checks from her mother’s account nor steal from those who paid into the system and deserve to receive the government benefits.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Franklin Woman Pleads Guilty to Social Security Fraud,” published by The Portland Press Herald on May 21, 2015.

FRANKLIN — A Hancock County woman who continued to collect nearly $31,500 in Social Security payments in her mother’s name years after her mother died pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal charge of theft of public money.

Barbara Phillips, 66, of Franklin, appeared at a hearing in U.S. District Court in Bangor before Judge John Woodcock Jr. and waived her right to have her case presented to a grand jury.

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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.