Money Over Anything

Social Security cards with cash and benefit amount numbers

No one wants to watch as their family members grow older and become unable to take care of themselves. The burden of care is often placed on an immediate family member or with a nursing home when this happens. Unfortunately, there are fraudsters looking to exploit the elderly and their vulnerable situations.

Dawn D. Clover, a Lincoln, Neb., woman, pleaded guilty in July to conversion of another’s Social Security benefits. Clover took $32,072 worth of Social Security disability payments from her uncle that she was not entitled to receive.

Clover was appointed by the courts as her uncle’s guardian in 2012 and was authorized to withdraw a monthly sum to cover his living expenses while he lived with her. She was not authorized to collect his Social Security payments and keep them for herself like she did from July 2013 to October 2017. (Sadly, schemes targeting the elderly are often carried out by friends or family of the victim, taking advantage of their relationship.)

The Social Security payments were used by Clover to fund personal vacations, supplement her income, and pay herself a monthly rent fee despite the fact her uncle no longer lived with her. (Blood may be thicker than water, but apparently, it’s not thicker than money.)

Clover’s uncle was relocated to a nursing home for short-term rehabilitation in July 2013. (Short term rehabilitation stays are covered by Medicare but when he stayed longer it should have switched over to be covered by Medicaid.)

Investigators stepped in when health officials noticed that the care had not been switched from Medicare to Medicaid. Furthermore, nursing home employees stated that Clover’s uncle had not been paying the cost of the nursing home. The uncle assured them that he had social security payments that would cover the cost, but he did not know where the money was. (This is when investigators began to put the puzzle pieces together.) 

Clover was sentenced to four years of probation, plus six months and 12 weekends of home detention. She was also ordered to pay $30,470.86 in restitution. (This seems like a light sentence for stealing from someone she was supposed to love and care for.) 

The FBI has compiled a list of the most common frauds which target the elderly on their website. If you think you or a loved one has been a victim of fraud you can submit a tip online through the FBI.

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “Lincoln woman sentenced for Social Security fraud,” published by Lincoln Journal Star on July 31, 2020.

A Lincoln woman has been sentenced to probation and house arrest for fraudulently collecting thousands of dollars of her uncle’s Social Security benefits, U.S. Attorney Joe Kelly announced Thursday.

Dawn D. Clover, 54, pleaded guilty to conversion of another’s Social Security benefits.

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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.