Harvesting Fraudsters

30619689 - social security newspaper scrap on assorted money

A lot of work goes into harvesting crops – a farmer has to prepare the soil for planting, the crops have to be watered and protected from pests, and then the produce has to be picked in a timely fashion so that the farmer can reap a good price for their yield. A story published in the Oroville Mercury Register tells about a man who harvested nearly $20,000 from the welfare system over 25 years while working as a farm labor contractor.

The story says that the farm laborer and his girlfriend did not report his income for nearly two-and-a-half years while working in California. (He was able to evade investigators because during each harvest season, he used different names and Social Security numbers to hide his crime.) The farm laborer defrauded the welfare system of $19,135 during that time period.

The 55-year-old man and his 44-year-old girlfriend were both convicted of welfare fraud and received a combination of jail time and probation for their illegal acts. The man got 240 days in county jail to be followed by three years of probation, while the woman received 120 days in jail plus 40 hours of community service. (Perhaps, she’ll have to harvest some crops as part of her punishment.) They were both ordered to pay restitution.

The article states that the man had been receiving welfare support for 25 years while being investigated for suspected fraud. After special investigators were brought in to work on the case, the evidence allowed the government to finally harvest a few more fraudsters.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Glenn County Residents Convicted of Welfare Fraud,” published by the Oroville Mercury Register on May 5, 2015.

Willows – Two Hamilton City residents were sentenced to a combination of jail and probation for welfare fraud, as well as having to pay back the funds.

According to a press release from Glenn County District Attorney Dwayne Stewart, Maria Castillo-Zamora, 44, and her boyfriend, Miguel Hernandez Santiago, 55, were convicted of welfare fraud and ordered to repay $18,127 to the Glenn County Health and Human Services Agency.

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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.