One Lie Leads to Another Prosecution

47650058 - frustrated mother suffering from post natal depression

Telling a lie is generally a bad idea. Once one is told, then another one usually follows even though it gets harder to cover up the first lie with subsequent ones. An article published in The Troy Record tells about a New York woman who lied about her income multiple times to obtain a variety of government benefits. (As you might guess, her lies eventually caught up with her.)

The story states that one of the woman’s offenses was claiming that a relative was providing care to her children. In reality, she stole her relative’s identity, lied on her application for government benefits and then collected the child care payments addressed to the family member. (Either she no longer has a very close relationship with this person or they could have been in cahoots together. Who knows?) The woman, who was formerly employed by the U.S. Postal Service, also concealed her income and was able to apply for and receive welfare and food stamp benefits over a two-and-a-half year time period.

It gets more interesting. After being charged with welfare fraud, she continued the ruse by applying for a mortgage with Habitat for Humanity. (Why not try to get a house out of the scam?) She forged three documents from her former employer that falsely represented her income and employment status.

The 35-year-old pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree welfare fraud. She will serve between three and nine years in state prison for her fraudulent actions. The woman will also have to pay more than $50,000 in restitution to the New York State Department of Social Services.

This fraudster experienced the reality that one lie often leads to a slippery slope of deception and in this case, prosecution. Let’s hope that a few years in prison will cure her of the need to deceive. Government benefits are not for dishonest people who are able to take care of themselves. It is for those who tell the truth about their situation and rightfully qualify for deserved benefits.


Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Troy Woman Gets Prison Time for Welfare Fraud,” published by The Troy Record on September 22, 2014.

ALBANY – A Troy woman was sentenced to three to nine years in state prison in Albany County state Supreme Court.

According to the office of District Attorney P. David Soares, Shanell Gardner, 35, was sentenced before Judge Roger McDonough.

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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.