Card Collector

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A diverse group of people sitting in a waiting room.

Are you a sports card collector? As a child, did you seek out antique baseball cards sporting pictures of swinging greats like Babe Ruth, or legendary pitchers such as Satchel Paige and share your collection with friends? (Some of those legendary player cards can cost anywhere from several thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars.) Delashaun Dean, 32, from Tolleson, Ariz., was a card collector of sorts, but not of the vintage kind. A search of his room at the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev., revealed more than $200,000 in unemployment benefits on debit cards. (I doubt he was sharing his collection of these cards with anyone.)

According to court documents, unemployment debit cards were not the only thing found in the perpetrator’s hotel room. Apparently, hotel staff alerted law enforcement to the presence of several large bags of marijuana in Dean’s room, around six pounds worth to be exact. Investigators also found 11 California Employment Development Department (EDD) debit cards in a variety of names and a notebook with the personal identification information of around a dozen individuals. Investigators instructed the hotel to lock the room.

Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know what happened next. Dean approached the hotel’s front desk to ask why he could not get into his room. He was required to show his identity and hotel security took care of his arrest.

Almost $222,930 in unemployment funds were approved for the claims connected to the recovered cards. The unemployment debit cards were under different names, none belonged to Delashaun Dean. After his arrest, Dean denied knowing anything about the items that were found in his hotel room. (He tried to pin it on the other person that was also registered to the same room, except there was no other person. Kind of a lame excuse.)

Investigators also discovered a fake driver’s license and a notebook, which consisted of personal identifying information of seven people. The notebook also contained several fake addresses and notes on individuals who were “not approved.” It turns out that 13 people, including Dean, listed the same address for their EDD claims. (Sounds like all the elements of fraudulent applications for unemployment insurance benefits.)

Dean pleaded guilty to one count of possession of counterfeit and unauthorized access devices and will be sentenced in May 2021. He faces 10 years in prison, supervised release, and a $250,000 fine for committing unemployment fraud.

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “Arizona man pleads guilty to unemployment insurance fraud”, published by the Las Vegas Review Journal, on February 3, 2021.

An Arizona man pleaded guilty Wednesday in Las Vegas to possession of more than $200,000 in unemployment benefits from fraudulent claims.

In October, Las Vegas police found Delashaun Dean, 32, of Tolleson, Arizona, with 15 unemployment insurance benefits debit cards — all in different names — on him and in his hotel room, court records show.

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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.