Fraud as a Side Job


The Northwest Indiana Times tells the story of a working woman in Gary, Indiana, whose theft of nearly $15,000 in unemployment benefits was uncovered by a diligent employee at the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD).

The Indiana DWD is responsible for identifying unemployment benefit fraud by reviewing wage reports and other information detailing how, when and where Hoosiers are employed. An investigation was opened when a DWD employee considered the Gary woman’s unemployment benefits claim against evidence that she was concurrently earning wages. (Spoiler alert: she had a job the entire time.)

After pleading guilty to a Class D felony, the woman was hit with a $13,493 bill for the stolen benefits and put on probation for three years. (Of course, the irony of it all is that this mark on her record may ultimately affect her employment status).

Thievery has never been a good look for a grown woman (orange is NOT the new black), felonies are an even worse one, and stealing funds reserved for the less fortunate is just plain old tacky.

To the diligent state employee who discovered the fraud: job well done.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on ”Gary woman pleads guilty to unemployment fraud,” a staff article published by Northwest Indiana Times on January 15, 2016.

A Gary woman has pleaded guilty to unemployment insurance fraud for collecting benefits while working full time.

Jannell M. Smoot, 55, pleaded to the Class D felony recently in Lake County Superior Court.

The investigation began when an Indiana Department of Workforce Development employee determined Smoot was earning wages while claiming unemployment insurance, the agency said in a news 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.