All the World’s a Stage

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William Shakespeare’s dramatic monologue that begins with ”All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players” presents the stages of man from birth until death. A fraudster, who used a dramatic plan to create fake event production companies, discovered he was in the midst of the fifth stage of life—justice—after his illegal escapades, and he is now faced with going to prison for bilking unemployment benefits from two different state agencies.

The fraudster at the center of this case stole more than $1.4 million from the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry by filing false documentation that stated he owned two event production companies that actually did not exist. (For two years, he claimed that he employed 76 people at one company and 31 at the other.)

Along with co-conspirators located in Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia, the mastermind set up a total of eight companies that never paid any unemployment insurance to either of the state labor departments. In order to collect unemployment benefits, all of the co-conspirators pretended to be employees who were laid off. (In total, the criminals netted $1,468,463 in unemployment benefits in the form of prepaid debit cards that could be used at ATMs or retail stores.)

He also paid others for the use of personal information so he could apply for unemployment benefits that were supposed to be designated for people who were actually laid off. (Not for people who acted like they were out of a job.)

The 43-year-old leader pleaded guilty to fraud charges. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison plus other penalties for identity theft.

Congratulations to the Maryland Identity Theft Working Group, which gets credit for closing the curtains on this badly directed fraudulent production. As Shakespeare’s drama suggests, each stage requires a man to play a new role; this man’s next gig will mostly likely be the role of a prisoner. (Although it’s not an opportunity to perform on Broadway, there may be many opportunities to be dramatic.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article, ”Silver Spring Man Pleads Guilty in 1.4 Million Unemployment Fraud Scheme,” published by Bethesda Magazine on May 13, 2016.

A Silver Spring man who prosecutors say bilked $1.4 million in unemployment benefits from state agencies in Pennsylvania and Maryland pleaded guilty to fraud charges Friday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

Federal prosecutors said Diameter Akala, 43, filed false documents with the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation as well as with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry in the names of companies he created—such as Event Solutions Silver Spring and Latin Productions—that falsely stated the fake companies employed and paid wages to employees.

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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.