Twenty-Six Years Too Late

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Social Security cards with cash and benefit amount numbers

On December 1, 2022, Reginald Bagley, of Dellwood, Missouri, admitted in court to stealing his dead mother’s Social Security payments over a twenty-six year period accumulating nearly $197,329 in the process.

Our fraudster actually claims he didn’t mean to steal his mothers Social Security benefits.  But things happen…right?  And for Mr. Bagley he apparently didn’t know what to do when the benefit money that kept getting deposited got used up.  Then more money came and that got used up. A quarter of a century later and almost $200,000 spent, Mr. Bagley says he was over his head.  But Mr. Bagley knew what to do once he received a letter of inquiry from the SSA requesting more information.  He immediately closed the bank account and got a cashier’s check for the rest of the balance.

The case against Mr. Bagley underscores a longstanding problem in which people collect benefits meant for their dead relatives. The Social Security Administration is responsible for issuing about $1 trillion in benefit payments every year, with an infrastructure so complex and archaic that even the slightest error in the overall payment process can result in millions of dollars in improper payments. SSA’s financial reports from 2021 estimate that the agency had spent about $8.3 billion in improper payments in 2020; with overpayments about $6.8 billion of that.

What is startling in Mr. Bagley’s case was how long it took for SSA to investigate. This scheme could have continued on if it weren’t for the Department of Medicare and Medicaid, who noticed that Mrs. Bagley was not using her Medicare benefits.  The Medicare office sent out inquiries to SSA and an investigation was started.  About twenty-six years too late.

Kudos to the Department of Medicare and Medicaid for noticing that someone wasn’t using their benefits!

Today’s Fraud of the Day is based on an article “Missouri man admits 26-year Social Security fraud” published by the Washington Post on December 2, 2022

An eastern Missouri man has admitted that he stole almost $200,000 by collecting his mother’s Social Security benefits for 26 years after her death.

Reginald Bagley, 62, of Dellwood, pleaded guilty Thursday to a felony charge of stealing money belonging to the United States, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Eastern Missouri said in a news release.

Bagley did not report his mother’s death on March 12, 1994, to the Social Security Administration.

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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.