Wisdom Doesn’t Always Come with Age


If you are responsible for someone’s financial affairs and they die, it’s very important that you report their death to the Social Security Administration. If you don’t, and their benefits continue to be deposited into a jointly held bank account, you could get into trouble for deceased payee fraud. A Florida woman collected Social Security benefits for her deceased mother for nearly two decades before being caught, and now faces some pretty stiff penalties for her crime.

An article posted on WEARTV.com tells about a woman who went to great lengths to protect the steady stream of income she received on behalf of her deceased mother. For 17 years, she continued to collect the Social Security benefits through a jointly held bank account.

When the Social Security Administration attempted to contact the woman’s mother and couldn’t reach her, the daughter was asked to confirm that her mother was still alive. The daughter produced a counterfeit death certificate hoping that the agency would be satisfied. (Not only was she lying to cover up her mother’s death, she also forged an official document. I guess age does not always reflect wisdom.)

The 73-year-old woman pleaded guilty to theft of government money and was sentenced to one year and a day in prison for social security fraud. She is also required to pay restitution of $132,957.70 to the Social Security Administration.

The Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is pretty serious about stopping deceased payee fraud. If you know of anyone that is receiving Social Security benefits for a deceased person, be wise, no matter your age, and report that to the OIG at http://oig.ssa.gov/report. Your proactive involvement could not only protect a government program that pays retirement, disability, and survivors’ benefits to qualified beneficiaries that truly deserve it, but also your future Social Security benefits as well.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, ”Navarre woman sentenced for social security fraud,” posted on WEARTV.com on August 5, 2016.

Pensacola, Fla. (WEAR) – A Navarre woman has been sentenced to prison for social security fraud.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 73-year-old Tanga Tarnower was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison and ordered to pay $132,957.70 to return to the Social Security Administration after pleading guilty in April 2016 to theft of government money.

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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.