Guilty Victims of Fraud

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Criminals are always on the prowl for victims. Most are innocent, but once in awhile even fraudsters prey on other criminals while they are serving out a prison sentence. (That’s an ironic twist – guilty victims.) An article in the Montgomery Adviser details a $1 million fraudulent tax refund scheme involving incarcerated individuals in an Alabama prison.

The story states that over a two-year period, a brother and sister teamed up to steal identities from multiple sources and filed more than 1,000 false federal and state tax returns in their victims’ names. (Add in an employee at the Alabama Department of Corrections with access to inmate information and a postal employee who provided addresses from his postal route to receive fraudulent tax refund checks and debit cards and you have a perfect recipe for a scam.)

The brother pleaded guilty to one count each of mail fraud and aggravated identity theft and will serve nine years and two months in prison for his crime. The sister was sentenced to 70 months in jail and ordered to pay more than $100,000 in restitution for filing 102 bogus federal and state tax returns. (The article states she was ”caught in the act” by Internal Revenue Service agents. They executed a search warrant and discovered she had access to hundreds of stolen identities.) The postal service employee received a prison sentence of nine years and three months, plus three years supervised release and ordered to pay $82,791 in restitution for his part in the scheme. (Just a reminder that neither snow, nor rain, nor dark of night prevents the government from hunting down and prosecuting fraudsters.)

This case just goes to show that everyone is susceptible to crime and it can happen at any time and in any place. Even to guilty victims in prison.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Area Man Heads to Prison for Million-dollar Tax Fraud,” written by Rick Harmon and published in the Montgomery Adviser on April 30, 2014.

Alabama inmates had their identities stolen in a million-dollar tax fraud that led to an area man being sentenced Tuesday to more than nine years in federal prison.

Between January 2010 and 2012, Harvey James and his sister, Jacqueline Slaton, obtained stolen identities from a variety of sources, including an Alabama Department of Corrections’ employee who had access to inmate information.

 

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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.