Social Sinners

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Some people engage in religious activities to absolve their sins and cultivate spiritual connections with higher powers. And then there are those who see organized religion as an opportunity to victimize vulnerable, god-fearing folk. The Daily Leader reports on a pair of women in Mississippi who targeted elderly and disabled victims at their place of worship, stealing their identities and filing fraudulent income tax returns on their behalf. (Prison gates, not pearly gates for them.)

The deliberateness in which these crooked congregants operated is enough to drive even the most pious person to the confessional. One of the women led the effort to get into the good graces of her fellow churchgoers, extracting identifying information from them. The other filed fraudulent federal income tax returns with the IRS that heavily inflated the victims’ financial statuses, including information related to their wages, income, tax deductions and credits. (Given that they preyed on elderly and handicapped individuals, who probably were living off of fixed incomes or long-term disability benefits, this had to raise a few red flags.)Together they collected nearly $500,000 in income tax refunds before the IRS Criminal Investigation agents yanked them from the pulpit.

Both women were charged by the Assistant U.S. Attorney General and convicted of knowingly conspiring with one another to defraud the IRS, by obtaining and aiding each other to obtain the payment of a fraudulent claim. In addition to being ordered to repay $493,111 to the IRS (that’s a lot of stolen grannies), they are each serving multiple years in prison, to be followed by three years of probation. Granny #1 received a 30 month prison sentence for exploiting the information she’d taken from the parishioners. Granny #2 was given 30 months plus two, for physically carrying out federal tax fraud, when she doctored and submitted false claims.

These women willingly preyed on old and sick people, whom were just looking for a little hope – so here’s to hoping! Hoping that these ugly social sinners rediscover a righteous calling in prison.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on ”McComb woman sentenced for IRS fraud,” a staff article published by The Daily Leader on January 15, 2016.

Brenda Norman of McComb was sentenced Thursday to 30 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for knowingly conspiring with Yvonne Gary of Hermanville, to defraud the Internal Revenue Service by obtaining and aiding each other to obtain the payment of a fraudulent claim, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Norman, 55, was also ordered to repay $493,111.00 jointly and severally with Gary to the IRS. Gary, 36, was sentenced in September to serve 32 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release

 

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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.