Accountability

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Fraudsters don’t generally like to be held accountable for their illegal actions. (They like to get away with as much as they can, regardless of the impact it has on their victims.) An article published in the South Florida Business Journal follows an industrious criminal who tried to get away with collecting more than $1.1 million in government benefits he did not deserve.

The article states that for approximately six months, a North Miami Beach man used the personal identification information of more than 90 people to file bogus unemployment insurance claims across three states – Florida, New York and Massachusetts. (Apparently, that wasn’t the only scam he was running.) He also filed fake Social Security claims and collected the funds in bank accounts that he set up.

The ruse was halted after law enforcement officers performed a search of the man’s home, finding about 2,000 bits of personal identification information (PII) including names, Social Security numbers and a credit card skimmer – a device used specifically for creating bogus credit and debit cards. (Perhaps those 2,000 bits of PII were actually his Christmas list.)

Further research revealed that the 28-year-old pleaded guilty to one count of use of one or more unauthorized access devices, one count of possession of fifteen or more unauthorized access devices, one count of possession of device making equipment and three counts of aggravated identity theft. He was sentenced to eight years in prison followed by three years of supervised release because of the fraudulent unemployment insurance claims.

Between the two scams, the fraudster intended to get away with $900,000. Coupled with the $236,000 that he actually received, he is now being held accountable for more than $1,100,000. (Congratulations to the collaborative efforts of the investigators across multiple agencies. It looks like this fraudster is definitely being held accountable for his illegal actions.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Miami Beach Man Sentenced for $1.1M Unemployment Insurance Fraud Scheme,” written by Nina Lincoff and published by the South Florida Business Journal on March 12, 2015.

North Miami Beach’s Reginald Stelle-Nelson was sentenced to eight years in prison followed by three years of supervised release Tuesday for an unemployment insurance fraud scheme that netted more than $1.1 million in ill-gotten gains.

Steele-Nelson reportedly filed fraudulent unemployment insurance claims in Florida, New York and Massachusetts using personal identifying information of more than 90 people, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. The scheme ran from at least the end of 2013 through the summer of 2014, according to court documents.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.