Missing Children

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shotof social security card and tax form

The looming shortfall in the Social Security trust fund means that fraudsters who get benefits they’re not entitled to not only steal from taxpayers, but they also potentially rob future recipients of benefits they’ve worked decades to obtain. Of course, that’s no concern to greedy schemers, such as Teresa Grant of Kansas, who illegally collected survivor’s benefits on behalf of her three minor children between 2016 and 2019. (Points for creativity; so many social security crooks just collect the deceased’s benefits for years.)

Grant began collecting benefits after her husband died, which sounds reasonable. However, her husband wasn’t the children’s father. (That must have slipped her mind.) Nor were the children living with her. (So, that’s why it’s been so quiet around here.)

All three children lived with their biological fathers, meaning they weren’t her dependents, much less her husband’s. (And it’s a pretty sure bet that very little of the nearly $87,000 she stole went to anything for the children.)

In a plea agreement, Grant admitted to defrauding the federal government, pleading guilty to one count of unauthorized acquisition of Social Security benefits. Two additional charges of false statements or representations were dropped as part of the deal. The judge ordered her to pay $86,674 in restitution, along with a $100 special assessment. The schemer lucked out of a prison term and a fine, instead being sentenced to three years of probation.

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a Wichita Eagle article, “Kansas mom’s 87K Social Security fraud used her children who didn’t live with her,” dated May 21, 2021.

A Kansas woman has admitted to cheating Social Security out of nearly $87,000 by claiming benefits for children who did not live with her.

Teresa Grant was sentenced earlier this month to three years of probation after previously pleading guilty to one count of unauthorized acquisition of Social Security Administration benefits. She was also ordered to pay $86,674 in restitution and a $100 special assessment, but was not fined.

 

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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.