Identity Crisis


An ”identity crisis” can occur at any time in life, especially when going through change. The developmental psychology term refers to a point in life where an individual begins to seriously search deep within themselves for answers to questions, such as? ”Why am I here?” and ”What am I supposed to do with my life?’? For instance, many teens go through periods of defiance against their parents and other authority figures as they try to figure out who they will be and what they will do as they enter into adulthood. However, identity crises are not limited to adolescence and can occur in midlife, when people tend to analyze the life decisions they have made thus far. The Elk Grove Patch details a story of a man somewhere between adolescence and midlife, who had several identities and is in the midst of a crisis due to a conviction for student loan fraud, among other crimes.

The story states that the 34-year-old man used multiple aliases to commit mail fraud, money laundering and student loan fraud. (He was certainly criminally ambitious.) Court documents indicate that the man applied for bank debit cards issued in his name (and additional aliases) or the names and Social Security numbers (SSN) of other persons. He then used merchant and terminal identification numbers issued to merchants and businesses nationwide to cause fraudulent refunds and credits worth approximately $450,000 to be placed on the debit cards he controlled. Before the businesses could revoke the fraudulent transactions, the fraudster used the cards to transfer and spend the money.

As if that wasn’t enough, the multi-alias con man also obtained more than $200,000 in student loans, in addition to another $250,000 in student loans he attempted to receive through fraudulent misrepresentations. He applied for student loans using the names, SSNs and incomes of several students to complete applications to multiple universities, including two Ivy League schools. After receiving some of the funds from two student loans, the man shared the wealth with his brother by writing multiple checks worth more than $19,000 each.

The fraudster pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud and one count of money laundering connected with the fraudulent use of debit cards and student loan fraud. He could get 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for mail fraud and a 10-year prison sentence and another $250,000 fine for money laundering. The brother pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering.

It sounds like there will be plenty of time for pondering the deep thoughts that prisoners have while serving time in jail. Answering questions, such as? ”What was I thinking?” and ”Where did I go wrong?” and ”How can I make up for all of the crimes I committed against innocent people?” will be a great start in discovering how to become a law-abiding citizen.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Elk Grove Man Pleads Guilty to Student Loan Fraud,” written by Lauren Gibbs and published in the Elk Grove Patch on August 23, 2013.

ELK GROVE – An Elk Grove man who goes by multiple names pleaded guilty to student loan and debit card fraud Friday.

From the U.S. Department of Justice:

Mordechay Altit, aka Michael Altit, aka Anthony Altit, aka Tony Altit, 34, pleaded guilty today to two counts of mail fraud and one count of money laundering in connection with fraudulent use of debit cards and student loan fraud, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

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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.