Collusion is usually not a good thing. When people collude, they are usually trying to deceive or mislead. A story published by the Portland Press Herald tells about a husband and wife team who colluded about their living situation in order to collect state welfare, food stamps and Social Security benefits over a three-year period of time.

The story states the 52-year-old woman did not disclose that she lived with her husband because she knew it would make her ineligible for the government benefits. Her 45-year-old husband even submitted a letter to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services stating that he had lived with his sister, when he actually lived with his wife. (The husband earned enough money to make his wife ineligible for any government benefits.)

The wife pleaded guilty to one count of Social Security fraud and one count of theft of federal money. She faces up to 10 years in federal prison for theft and up to five years for fraud. The husband pleaded guilty to making a false statement. He is looking at up to five years in prison. Both may be required to each pay a fine of $250,000.

It never pays to deceive or mislead anyone, especially the federal government. In this case, a little collusion between husband and wife resulted in a huge collision with the federal government. They no longer have to worry about living arrangements. It looks like they are going to be settling in to their own individual jail cells. It looks like they will no longer be living or colluding together.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Kennebunk Couple Plead Guilty to Welfare Fraud,” written by Scott Dolan and published by the Portland Press Herald on August 15, 2014.

A Kennebunk husband and wife each pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Portland to federal charges stemming from their claim that they did not live together, allowing the wife to continue collecting state welfare, food stamps and federal Social Security benefits.

Carol Welch, 52, pleaded guilty to one count of Social Security fraud and one count of theft of federal money. Her husband, Scott Welch, 45, pleaded guilty to making a false statement.

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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.