It Wasn’t Me

Unemployment insurance form on a table.

A man from Southwest Virginia has pleaded guilty to taking part in a pandemic unemployment benefits scheme that defrauded the government of more than $182,474. Travis Kilgore of Wise waived his right to be indicted and pleaded guilty Thursday to a two-count Information charging him with one count of conspiracy to defraud the government and one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and defraud the government. (That’s probably the only wise thing he has done lately.)  

Kilgore admitted that he and others developed a scheme beginning in May 2020 to defraud the United States and the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) through the filing of fraudulent claims for pandemic unemployment benefits. (If he’d put half of this effort into finding a job, he’d be CEO of a company by now.)  

Kilgore and others filed claims for pandemic unemployment benefits through the VEC website. The scheme involved submitting claims for various individuals, including Kilgore, who were not eligible. Kilgore and his affiliates lied on the filings to appear eligible for benefits. He would then reverify and re-certify the false statements on numerous occasions throughout the scheme so that he could continue to receive weekly benefits. (There’s no claiming that he didn’t know what he was doing.)

In total, Kilgore filed claims for approximately 21 other individuals, causing at least $182,474 in false unemployment claims to be paid. (These funds could have gone to individuals who were relying on assistance to put food on the table.) The employment commission was able to recoup $18,004 but the total loss was approximately $164,470.

Kilgore remains in custody after pleading guilty and will be sentenced in July 2021.

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “Va. man pleads guilty in latest unemployment fraud scheme,” published by WAVY on April 9, 2021.

ABINGDON, Va. (AP) — A southwest Virginia man has pleaded guilty to taking part in a pandemic unemployment benefits scheme that defrauded the government of over $150,000, according to federal authorities.

Travis Kilgore of Wise, Virginia, pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Abingdon to charges that he conspired with others to commit mail fraud and defraud the government, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia 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.