Boiling a Frog

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When tempted by money, people often find themselves acting in ways that are contrary to their belief system. At first, they may convince themselves that they’ll only indulge just a little because after all, they deserve it and no one will notice or be harmed by the action. Later, as they are immersed in their illegal actions, they often find out too late that they are in trouble with the law. Today ‘s fraudster began indulging in the fraudulent receipt of government benefits more than two decades ago, and eventually defrauded two agencies out of more than $230,000 he didn’t deserve.

The ruse began when the man at the center of today ‘s case filed for Social Security disability benefits, claiming he was unable to work, although he was working ,for himself. He operated a handyman service while receiving the undeserved benefits. He completed home repairs including trim work, building and repairing fences and other home improvements. He even boasted that he had earned millions of dollars running his company. (Perhaps he realizes now that it was not such a good idea to publicly reveal that tidbit.)

The man admitted that he lied to investigators about his ability to work because he knew he would be disqualified from receiving government benefits if his scam was revealed. (He received more than $155,316 from the Social Security Administration and more than $81,365 from Medicare.) The 57-year-old man was eventually convicted and sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for his illegal actions.

This criminal began his scam in 1995 and kept it a secret for about 20 years. Perhaps he jumped into the fraud scheme not thinking it would grow to the magnitude it did. This man ‘s story can be compared to that of a frog, who jumps into a pan of warm water and doesn’t sense the heat being turned up. The frog is eventually cooked because it doesn’t perceive the danger. Similarly, this man got himself into some hot water by facilitating this long-term scam. When the government turned the heat up, it was too late, and now he ‘s headed to prison.

Source: Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Man convicted of scamming Social Security, Medicare sentenced,” posted on news4jax.com on February 15, 2017.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man convicted of stealing over $230,000 from government agencies received his sentence on Tuesday, the Department of Justice said.

U.S. District Judge Brian Davis sentenced Robert Lee Lanier, 57, of Jacksonville, to 18 months in federal prison for theft of more than $236,000 in government property. He pleaded guilty on Nov. 18, 2016.

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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.