O Fraud, Where Is Thy Sting?

25387867 - man holds his hands in handcuffs before itself

Beekeeping does not come without danger, and neither does fraud. Today’s article combines both to create a sticky situation for a Stafford, Virginia man who committed Social Security disability fraud by lying about his ability to work.

The man at the center of today’s article is a former federal law enforcement officer with the U.S. Army. (Let’s stop right there. He should have known better than to defraud the Social Security Administration (SSA).) Court records show that over more than two years, the Northern Virginia man received about $75,000 in Social Security disability benefits he did not deserve. (That’s because he was busy as a bee working in his commercial beekeeping business.)

One of the reasons why Social Security disability benefits are distributed is because of the inability to work. (This fraudster’s sticky business effectively disqualified him from receiving disability benefits from the SSA.) To cover up his crime, he falsely testified under oath to an Administrative Law Judge and submitted bogus documents. The real stinger is that he submitted a fake tax return to the SSA to cover up his scheme. (He claimed he was earning about $400 a month when he was actually raking in about $25,000 per month from his honey-making business.) When he found out he was being investigated, he back dated the signature card to his business bank account. (I’m sure the bank had the original record.)

Investigators found that the SSA was not his only attempt at fraud. It turns out that the deceptive beekeeper also scammed $120,000 from the Department of Veterans Affairs over eight years. (I guess he was trying to sweeten up the deal, but it looks like he got his hand stuck in the honey pot.)

The 55-year-old Virginia beekeeper and former federal law enforcement officer was convicted of three felonies including Social Security disability fraud and making false statements. He was ordered to serve 21 months in federal prison for cheating the SSA and the Department of Veterans Affairs of nearly $200,000. (Yep, there’s the sting of fraud. I bet that will hurt for quite some time.)

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on press release entitled, “Virginia Man Sentenced to 21 Months in Prison for Social Security, Veterans Affairs Disability Fraud,” released by the Office of the Inspector General of the Social Security Administration on September 29, 2017.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Gennaro Mattiaccio, 55, of Stafford was sentenced today to 21 months in prison for his fraudulent receipt of disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and making false statements to the SSA.

Mattiaccio, a former federal law enforcement officer with the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigation Command (“CID”), was convicted by a federal jury on February 24, 2017 of three felonies related to his fraud and false statements. According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Mattiaccio received over $75,000 in Social Security disability benefits from April 2014 through September 2016, despite being gainfully self-employed during that same time period as the owner and sole proprietor of Rock Hill Honey Bee Farms, a commercial beekeeping business. That employment disqualified Mattiaccio from receiving any disability benefits from the SSA.

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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.