From Cage to Cage

Partial view of Social Security card, US Treasury checks and hundred dollar bills. Finance and retirement concept.

Leona Biser, 52, of Vestaburg, Pa., allegedly confined her 53-year-old, disabled sister to a wooden cage so that she could wrongfully collect her older sister’s Social Security Income payments. Biser claimed she kept her sister in a lumber and plywood, gated enclosure because she fell a lot. (Human rights violations don’t even begin to cover all that is wrong with this scenario.)

Biser became her sister’s caretaker in 2018. In November 2019, agents found her sister in a man-made wooden cell in Biser’s living room. (Thankfully, someone checked on her.) Investigators reported that the home did not have running water and was full of dog feces. (That paints a pretty picture, doesn’t it? The younger Biser’s morals seem to be an even bigger mess than her house.)

Biser did not provide proper care for her sister and withheld medication for a seizure disorder and sufficient nutrition. She stole thousands of dollars from the government and taxpayers that should have been spent on the care of her disabled sister. (Instead, she bought alcohol, cigarettes, and video games, because in her mind, she deserved it.)

The Pennsylvania woman was indicted in August 2020 for Social Security fraud. The indictment stated that Biser began receiving Supplemental Security Income on her sister’s behalf in October 2018 and continued to receive it through September 2019. 

After receiving treatment for a urinary tract infection and rhabdomyolysis, or the breakdown of skeletal muscle, at a local hospital, the sister is now being properly cared for by a community service group who obtained permanent guardianship. According to the guardian, the mistreated sister’s balance and communication have improved.

Biser will serve nine months of incarceration, after which she will serve two years of supervised release. She will also be required to pay $12,201 in restitution for committing Social Security fraud and abusing her sister.

There are still criminal charges pending against Biser for endangering the welfare of a care-dependent person. Other charges include false imprisonment, unlawful restraint, and reckless endangerment.

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “Washington Co. woman who kept disabled sister in cage gets time served for Social Security fraud,” published by TribLive on June 21, 2021.

A Washington County woman who confined her disabled 53-year-old sister to a wooden cage while she used her Social Security payments will be released from federal custody.

Leona Biser, 52, of Vestaburg, pleaded guilty to Social Security fraud and representative payee fraud in February before U.S. District Judge Donetta Ambrose.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.