Repeat Offender

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Some criminals just can’t help themselves. Once they start down the path towards a life of crime, it is often hard to turn back. The Sugar Land Sun reports on a Houston woman, who was already serving time for a prior conviction, but will now be adding on another prison sentence to her resume for cashing a deceased woman’s Social Security checks.

The article states that the 37-year-old woman used false Social Security numbers (SSN), including her own brother’s SSN, to open bank accounts at two different banks to facilitate a check-cashing scheme. A co-conspirator used these same bank accounts to cash some of her deceased mother’s Social Security benefits checks over an eight-year period. (No doubt the two fraudsters split the cash.)

The fraudster pleaded guilty to two counts of making false statements regarding a SSN and was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release. She also was ordered to pay $177,694 in restitution. (They’ll have a snowball’s chance in Hades of collecting that amount.) The co-conspirator pleaded guilty to similar charges and will serve one year and one day in prison.

It turns out the woman, who set up the bank accounts, was already serving time in a state prison for forgery and possession of a controlled substance. Apparently, she requested that both sentences run concurrently. (She’s quite the comedian.) However, the judge denied her request. (Way to go judge!) She will transfer to a federal prison after the completion of her state sentence.

It looks like this repeat offender will be receiving a repeat prison sentence. Hopefully, the two sentences will be enough to convince her to choose a legitimate path in life – one that does not involve fraud.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Houston Woman Sent to Prison for Scheme to Cash Deceased Woman’s Benefits Checks,” published by the Sugar Land Sun on March 17, 2014.

HOUSTON – Doris Hayes, 37, of Houston, has been ordered to prison for using her brother’s Social Security number to open a bank account to cash a deceased woman’s benefit checks, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Hayes pleaded guilty to two counts of making false statements involving a Social Security number on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013.

Today, U.S. District Judge David Hittner, who accepted the guilty plea, handed Hayes a sentence of 33 months in federal prison to be followed by a three-year-term of supervised release. She was further ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $177,694. Hayes, currently serving time in state prison for forgery and possession of a controlled substance, requested her federal and state sentences to run concurrently. Judge Hittner denied that request.

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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.