Pouring Salt on a Wound

36197500 - frustrated young business man working on laptop computer at office

The Ohio Department of Taxation intercepted fraudulent income-tax filings seeking approximately $180 million in refunds for the 2013 tax year. In previous years, the agency was able to catch an average of about $10 million. Why the sudden increase in tax fraud? It appears that identity theft is the culprit as evidenced by a recent scheme reported on WLWT.com and carried out by a southwest Ohio man, who stooped to an all-time low. He used the identities of deceased children to try to steal approximately $40,000 in fraudulent tax refunds.

The story reports that the 28-year-old man falsified income tax returns using the identities of more than 30 people in six states. Some of those victims were actually dead children he claimed as dependents. (Ironically, none of the deceased children were from the state of Ohio. Perhaps this fact was the mistake that alerted officials to his crime since he lived in Ohio.) The story does not mention how the fraudster obtained the personal identification information used in the four-month scheme that netted about $16,000.

The criminal pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft. He could get a two-year prison sentence for his fraudulent actions.

The actions of this criminal can be related to pouring salt in the wounds of parents, who were grieving the death of their children. It’s a terrible thing to live through that tragedy only to find out that someone took advantage of their loved one’s demise to line their pockets with undeserved money. (A two-year sentence seems like such a small consequence for such inhumane actions.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Tri-State Man Admits Stealing Dead Kids’ ID for Tax Fraud,” posted on WLWT.com on October 8, 2014.

CINCINNATI —A southwest Ohio man accused of using identities of dead children and other people to falsify income tax returns has pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft.

Prosecutors say 28-year-old Christopher Kyle Smith could face a two-year prison sentence and a potential $250,000 fine. A judge ordered a presentencing investigation.


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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.