Capitalizing on the Demise of Others

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Fraudsters are really good at capitalizing on the demise of their victims. (They usually don’t scrutinize when choosing their targets and will often use their own family members to make an illegal profit.) An article posted on tells about an elderly son who failed to report his mother’s death. (It’s highly doubtful that he forgot to do so.) As a result, he collected more than $250,000 in undeserved Social Security benefits.

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), ”deceased payee fraud” is one of the most common ways that people illegally collect Social Security benefits. In this case, because the agency was not notified of the fraudster’s mother’s death, he continued to receive a monthly check worth more than $1,500 deposited into a joint bank account. (Normally, the SSA is notified of a beneficiary’s death either by a funeral home, a state agency or a family member. If that doesn’t happen, this type of fraud can continue for a long time.)

The 72-year-old, who collected more than $257,959 over 16 years, pleaded guilty to theft of government funds. He is scheduled to be sentenced.

If this man’s mom was alive today, she would most likely not approve of her son’s fraudulent actions. (Fortunately, the government has stepped in to help with devising an appropriate punishment.) The SSA works hard to prevent this type of fraud and it’s a given that prosecutors will make this man a model for discouraging similar behavior in others who are thinking about capitalizing on their victims’ demise.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Man Admits He Collected Social Security Benefits for Mom 16 Years After She Died,” posted on on August 12, 2015.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A Rhode Island man has admitted to collecting over $250,000 in Social Security benefits intended for his mother for 16 years after she died.

Luke Clarke, 72, appeared in U.S. District Court on Wednesday where he pleaded guilty to theft of government funds. He will be sentenced in November, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha.

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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.