Driving to Prison

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Social security card and American money dollar bills close up concept

A Dominican national, Ronald Lara Pena, 35, has pleaded guilty to Social Security fraud after falsely using another’s Social Security number and lying about it. (Fraudsters tend to wrongly think that they’ll never get caught.)

Lara Pena previously resided in Lawrence, Massachusetts and admitted to fraudulently using a Puerto Rican citizen’s identity to gain Massachusetts identification cards and a driver’s license. (Too bad he won’t have anywhere to drive while he is incarcerated.)

The identity was also used to apply for MassHealth benefits between September 2015 and September 2020. (Even after five years of lying, he still didn’t feel guilty enough to stop.) Lara Pena wrongfully received $12,600 from this federal fund.

Lara Pena was indicted in September 2020 and pleaded guilty to one count of false representation of a Social Security number and of making a false statement relating to health care matters.

Falsely representing a Social Security number may result in a $250,000 fine, a sentence of up to five years in prison followed by three years of supervised release. Likewise, fabricating statements relating to health care matters may also result in a $250,000 fine, a sentence of up to five years in prison followed by three years of supervised release. A sentencing date has not been determined.

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “Former Lawrence Resident Pleads Guilty to Social Security Fraud,” published by Yahoo! News on July 23, 2021.

Jul. 23—BOSTON — A Dominican national pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Boston to false representation of a Social Security number and making a false statement relating to health care matters.

Ronald Lara Pena, 35, a Dominican national previously residing in Lawrence, pleaded guilty to one count of false representation of a Social Security number and one count of making a false statement relating to health care matters. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled by the court. Pena was indicted in September 2020.

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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.