Name Game

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‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” While it is a great sentiment to take to heart, somebody should have told today’s fraudster that it doesn’t apply to stealing from the government. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Virginia, released an account of a fraud scheme 15 years in the making.

The Virginia man in the report entered the U.S. back in 1991 and was able to obtain a valid Social Security number under one name, while he was registered with U.S. Customs and Immigration under a different one. (The beginning of a bad precedent.) In 2005 and 2007, he attempted to secure funds from the Supplemental Security Income program and the Disability Insurance Benefits program, respectively, but was denied both times. (But not because his name game had been discovered—that would take another 10 years.) However, he was not to be deterred, and kicked off his next scheme to illegitimately secure government benefits.

As a newly naturalized citizen, he filed for a new Social Security number after being granted a petition for a name change, different than the other two.In doing so, he falsely attested that he had never previously been assigned a Social Security number. Then in 2010, he applied for Social Security Administration Survivors Benefits for his children by claiming that their father—aka his previous identity—was deceased. (That name had not scored him any benefits so why not kill it off?) He collected $51,608 in benefits on the children’s behalf.

Unfortunately for our fraudster, naming yourself as the recipient of your own death benefits is a great way to draw attention to your latest blatant fraud attempt. (Generally something fraudsters try to avoid as a rule of thumb.) As a result of the long-concocted but short-lived scheme, he was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $35,187 in restitution.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on, ”Virginia Man Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison for Social Security Fraud,” a news release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Virginia on March 11, 2016.

Marcel Joshua Kiza, 58, of Richmond, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for engaging in a sophisticated scheme to defraud the Social Security Administration’s Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance Program. Kiza was ordered to pay $35,187 in restitution.

Upon entering the United States in 1991, Marcel Kiza applied for a Social Security number under a name he was using at the time, Amuri Kiza. Marcel Kiza became a naturalized U.S. citizen in April 2007, and was granted a name change to Marcel Joshua Kiza.

He applied for a new Social Security number and represented on the application that he had not previously been assigned a Social Security number, which was untrue. Then, in 2010, Marcel Kiza applied for SSA Survivors Benefits for his children, by representing that their father, Amuri Kiza, was deceased. He named himself the representative payee on behalf of the children and received $51,608 in SSA’s Survivors Benefits to which he was not entitled.

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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.