What a Character

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It has been said that a person’s character is determined by the choices made when no one is looking. It’s also important to remember that choices have consequences, which impact others. The website NOLA.com reports on a New Orleans man, who failed to consider the impact his criminal action could have on his children.

The story details that a father of three pleaded guilty to stealing Social Security disability insurance payments worth nearly $187,000 over 10 years. Court documents report that the man worked several jobs during that time period and failed to report his wages while continuing to receive disability payments.

The purpose of the Disability Insurance Benefits Program (DIB) is to replace an individual’s earnings lost due to a physical or mental impairment, not to provide additional income to able-bodied individuals who just want extra cash. DIB also allows qualified recipients to be a representative payee for minor children and manage their income received as a result of the parent’s disability. Court documents state that the defendant knew the amount of his earnings and decided not to report his wages to the Social Security Administration (SSA). (Failure to report wages can render the disabled worker and his children ineligible for benefits.)

Court documents also stated that the fraudster purchased and used a fraudulent Social Security card so he could conceal his employment and earnings from the SSA. His criminal actions have him facing up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

This father has not only set a bad example for his kids, but has compromised his children’s future by committing this crime. There is another saying that states it takes a lifetime to build a good reputation and only a moment to destroy it. It looks like taxpayer dollars are once again responsible for damage control resulting from a lack of character.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”New Orleans Man Pleads Guilty In Disability Benefit Fraud,” written by John Harper and published on NOLA.com on August 29, 2013.

NEW ORLEANS – A New Orleans man has pleaded guilty to receiving disability benefits for 10 years after he became ineligible, according to interim U.S. Attorney Dana Boente. Cristino Nunez, 48, pleaded guilty to theft of government money, Boente’s office said Wednesday.

Nunez stole more than $186,000 in Social Security disability insurance payments, from March 2001 to July 2011, court documents said. Nunez worked at several jobs in those 10 years, and not only failed to report his wages to the Social Security Administration, but also continued to receive disability payments.

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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.