Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures


Life is usually not fair and it rarely goes the way we expect. But, that doesn’t mean it’s o.k. to commit a crime to ease a financial burden. (That should never be an option, but desperate times often call for desperate measures.) A Kentucky grandmother neglected to report the death of her husband for more than 20 years in order to support her family.

Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” case is somewhat different in that although the woman illegally collected federal retirement benefits over 20 years, she did not use it to selfishly fund a lavish lifestyle. Prosecutors noted that she did not apply for any other government funds that she would have been likely to qualify for such as food stamps. The grandmother also worked at several low-paying jobs to make ends meet. (I have to give her credit for not being the typical fraudster, but what she did is still illegal no matter how you look at it.)

The 61-year-old grandmother and primary caretaker of four grandchildren pleaded guilty to theft of government property and illegal receipt of Social Security benefits. Although guidelines recommended 12 – 18 months in prison, she was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay $167,945 in restitution.

While it’s easy to see why this woman’s good intentions got her into trouble, it’s also important to note that it’s not fair to place honest taxpayers’ retirement plans in jeopardy for personal reasons. It’s too bad that she did not apply for other government benefit programs that were readily available. She probably would have qualified for several types of government assistance that would have enabled her to care for her family in a legal manner.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, ”Woman gets probation for SS fraud, must repay $176K in ill-gotten benefits,” published by The Bowling Green Daily News on October 27, 2016.

A Bowling Green woman who admitted to claiming federal retirement benefits intended for her dead husband for more than 20 years has been ordered to pay $167,945 in restitution.

Yvonne Franklin, 61, had pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to theft of government property and illegal receipt of Social Security benefits and was sentenced Monday.

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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.