Learning a Lesson in Fraud


Take your seats, students. Today’s lesson will be in fraud – unemployment fraud to be specific. Now the concept is actually quite simple? to commit unemployment fraud, simply receive unemployment benefits while being employed. Any questions?

While the concept may seem easy to understand, one Washington, DC, teacher missed the mark on this one, according to today’s Fraud of the Day from The Examiner. (Even teachers can make mistakes from time to time.? The teacher in this case, who is amongst 130 DC employees accused of unemployment fraud in February, recently pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree fraud. Hired by the DC school system in 2007 as an educational aide, the teacher applied for and received around $27,200 dollars in unemployment compensation from July 2009 to April 2011, while still employed. (Ok, the concept of fraud was easy – so how did she get this one wrong?)

The judge ordered the teacher to pay the full restitution of $27,200, serve 45 days in jail, as well as five years of probation. (And students think detention is bad…)

So the teacher made a mistake – big deal. Actually, it is a big deal. These $27k mistakes add up – and it eliminates government money allocated to help individuals who are actually in need of the assistance. Whatever happened to teachers setting a good example for their students? Regardless, this may be one lesson the teacher wasn’t expecting to learn – and with 45 days in jail, she will have plenty of time to think about what she did.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, ”Ex-DSCP Employee Receives Jail Time for Unemployment Fraud,” written by Lisa Gartner and published by The Examiner on September 12, 2012.

A former DC Public Schools employee will go to jail for 45 days for collecting unemployment benefits while on the city’s payroll.

Bettye Felder-Lightfoot, hired by the school system in 2007 as an educational aide, also will have to pay $27,200 in restitution and serve five years of probation for defrauding the D.C. Department of Employment Services. She was also hit with three years of supervised release, though the D.C. Superior Court judge suspended that sentence.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.