Avoidance Never Pays Off

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Fraudsters are pretty good avoiders. They generally shun earning an honest living and admitting guilt when caught. While today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is about a Nebraska man who actually did work, he lied about the fact he was working and then sidestepped admitting guilt to participating in a ruse to steal nearly $8,000 in unemployment benefits he did not deserve.

A 50-year-old man purportedly filed for unemployment benefits for 60 weeks in spite of the fact he was actually working and earning a paycheck for more than half of that time—32 weeks to be exact. (You have to give him credit for actually working, but he neglected to report that one not-so-small detail to the Nebraska Department of Labor.)

After a thorough investigation by the state agency’s Benefits Payment Control Unit, this Cornhusker pleaded no contest to unemployment fraud. (Yet another avoidance tactic. This allowed him to admit the facts in the case were true, but avoid pleading guilty.)He is facing a maximum of five years in prison, a $10,000 fine and repaying $7,840 in restitution.

Apparently the man made some restitution payments before he was arrested. (We’ll see if that helps him to avoid a stiffer sentence when he receives the details of his punishment from the judge. A better strategy for future: avoid committing fraud.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, ”Man pleads no contest in unemployment fraud case,” published by the Omaha World-Herald on June 3, 2016.

YORK, Neb. – A 50-year-old man pleaded no contest this week to felony theft by deception stemming from unemployment fraud.

Timothy Ballard faces a possible maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

According to information submitted to the court by a field representative for the Benefits Payment Control Unit for the Nebraska Department of Labor, Ballard filed weekly claims for unemployment benefits for 60 weeks, between Feb. 7, 2012, and Feb. 7, 2015.

It was discovered, however, that Ballard was employed during those weeks and had been earning money.

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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.