Deep Hole

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There are a variety of ways Social Security fraud can be committed, but perhaps the most egregious falls under the term, deceased payee fraud. This type of fraud occurs when the death of a loved one is not reported so that the deceased person’s government benefits can still be collected despite the fact that this is against the law. A man in Florida tried to commit deceased payee fraud after his mother died, but a family member turned him in to authorities.

The man’s 79-year-old mother died of natural causes, but the son decided not to alert the authorities so he could continue to receive her government benefits. (Thankfully, there was no foul play.) Instead, he dug a deep hole behind her house, placed her body in the grave without a casket and covered her back up with dirt. The son continued to deposit the monthly Social Security and pension checks into his mother’s bank account, then transferred the funds into his own account. (He moved $35,345 to be exact.)

Approximately a year later, the man’s conscience must have gotten to him and he confided in his daughter that he had continued to collect his mother’s benefits after her death. (He was unemployed at the time due to being a registered felon. Apparently he had been convicted for possession of marijuana and driving with a suspended license.) Thankfully, the fraudster’s daughter had a conscience and called the police.

The 56-year-old pleaded guilty to theft of government property and aggravated identity theft. He is facing a maximum of 12 years in federal prison. One thing is for sure, he dug himself into a hole that’s going to be extremely hard to get out of.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, ”Fla. man secretly buried his dead mother in backyard to collect her Social Security, pension checks,” published in The Washington Post on November 2, 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.