They Never Learn

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Some fraudsters never learn. They frequently commit the same crime over and over again until one day, they make a mistake. A Georgia woman almost carried out a successful student loan fraud scheme worth $500,000, until she mistakenly signed her own name instead of the name of the stolen identity she used to apply for student financial aid.

For nearly two years, the woman filled out and submitted dozens of fraudulent financial student aid applications, mostly for community colleges in Dallas County, Texas. She also requested assistance from the Department of Education ‘s Office of the Inspector General.

Investigators determined that common IP addresses were used for more than half of the suspicious applications. Also, three of the fraudulent applications listed dependents who happened to be the woman ‘s three minor children. The application that signaled a problem happened to be signed using her real name instead of the name of the stolen identity used on the form. (Oops. Do-over please.)

In total, the fraudster received more than $200,000 in financial aid out of the $500,000 she was awarded. She admitted to stealing dozens of identities from a healthcare company ‘s patient database where she had previously worked. (Wait for it‚Ķthere ‘s more.)

She also confessed to using the stolen identities to obtain multiple credit cards that she used to buy electronics, clothing and furniture. (It ‘s so much fun to shop with other people ‘s money.) And she admitted to forging a doctor ‘s signature on a medical disability statement that would enable her to have $47,000 of her personal education debt discharged. (Even more money in her pocket.)

The 36-year-old was sentenced to six years and seven months in jail plus three years of supervised release. She is also required to pay a $200 special assessment and $277,434.50 in restitution.

Federal student aid helps to make the dream of higher education a reality for many people who otherwise would not be able to pay for school. It is not intended to help lazy fraudsters pocket money to spend on personal items. Let ‘s hope she gets appropriate instruction while in jail and learns a very important lesson ,if you steal government funds, you will definitely pay.

Source: Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Woman gets prison time for applying for student loans with kids’ IDs,” published by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on February 27, 2017.

A Newnan woman who received $200,000 in student financial aid is headed to federal prison for fraud.

Andrea R. Williams will spend six years and seven months incarcerated, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in North Georgia 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.