Gamblers Never Win

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When you think of Las Vegas things like casinos, world renowned entertainment, fine dining and nightlife come to mind. What you don’t immediately think about is that the state has one of the highest unemployment rates in the U.S. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Nevada’s unemployment rate was at 4.9 percent as of August, 2017. (And where there is unemployment, there is unemployment fraud.) The Department of Labor reports that the state has an improper payment rate above 14 percent. (That’s not so great.) Today’s fraudster got creative and tried to commit unemployment insurance fraud by stealing from the State’s Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation while serving time behind bars.

The Las Vegas man at the center of today’s case worked with a co-conspirator to file unemployment claims on his behalf. The female co-conspirator neglected to inform the State’s Employment Security Division that he was able to work, but was incarcerated in a county detention center or the state prison during the time the claims were filed. (Oops, those were some very important details to communicate.) Because of these omissions, the incarcerated man collected more than $4,700 in unemployment insurance benefits. (Not bad for just two months of lying. It’s a good thing he was caught before he could get away with more undeserved benefits.)

The 44-year-old man, who had prior convictions for burglary and forgery, pleaded guilty to unemployment insurance fraud. He was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison. His female co-conspirator previously pleaded guilty to unemployment insurance fraud and was sentenced to 12 to 60 months of imprisonment.

The fraudster at the center of today’s case took three huge gambles with burglary, forgery and now, unemployment insurance fraud. Here’s hoping that this criminal has gotten the message that gamblers never win.

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Las Vegas man to serve at least 3 years in prison for unemployment insurance fraud” posted on on September 13, 2017.

LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) — A Las Vegas man was sentenced Tuesday to 3 to 10 years in prison in connection to an unemployment insurance fraud investigation.

Richard James Penardo Jr., 44, worked with one or more co-conspirators who filed unemployment claims on his behalf between July and September 2011, according to a news release from the Nevada attorney general’s office.

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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.