Fraud at First Sight

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People often meet their soul mates through friends or family, blind dates or serendipitous situations. In an article published in The Oregonian, one woman met her husband, who happened to be a prisoner, through an online dating service. (I’m not even going to tell you how many sites popped up when I did an Internet search on online dating services for prisoners.) Together they became partners in crime and carried off a fraudulent scheme that stole approximately $174,000 from the Internal Revenue Service.

The story states that the Portland woman orchestrated the tax fraud scheme with the help of her brother and her husband, who happened to be serving three consecutive life sentences without the possibility for parole. (The article reports that the man was in prison for the triple murder of his sister, her daughter and her granddaughter.)

The imprisoned husband supplied the identities of several fellow inmates to his wife so she could create bogus tax documents to obtain unearned tax refunds. (Further research revealed that the husband claimed that the fellow prisoners were willing participants in the scam.) The woman’s brother assisted with filing the false claims.

The woman pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and will serve two years in federal prison. Her brother was sentenced to 18 months for his role in the scam. The husband had an extra three years and one month added to the triple-life term he is already serving. (Three years aren’t going to make much of a difference to this criminal already imprisoned for life x 3.)

When asked by the judge why the woman married a man who was convicted of murder, the woman replied, ”It’s just something that happened.” Maybe it was love at first sight or the love of fraud at first sight. (Who knows? She did visit him once in jail.) Even though this imprisoned soul mate was perfect for this fraudster and her criminal aspirations, it’s a sure bet they will never be cell mates even though they are married. (We can all agree, this scam was not the best way to go about trying to spend more time with her husband.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Portland ID Thief Explains Why She Married a Triple-Murderer Locked Up for Life,” written by Bryan Denson and published in The Oregonian on February 3, 2015.

A Portland woman will serve two years in federal prison for her role in a scheme to steal $174,000 from the IRS – a tax fraud she committed with the help of her husband, a triple murderer serving life behind bars.

Loretta Johnson, who pleaded guilty last October to aggravated identity theft, apologized Tuesday before Senior U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones, saying she took responsibility for her crime.

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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.