No More Crimes without Fines

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When a criminal steals something from a store – let’s say an expensive piece of jewelry – he or she usually is required to provide restitution (i.e., give the item back) and receive a punishment, such as a heavy fine and/or jail time. That’s society’s way of saying the act was wrong and providing a deterrent for future criminal acts. Why should this process be any different if someone steals something from the government? If anything, shouldn’t it be even stricter? After all, the criminal has stolen not just from one entity, but from all taxpayers. Thankfully, the Nebraska Department of Labor is now fining people who deliberately misreport information in an attempt to collect unemployment benefits.

According to Omaha World-Herald, the Nebraska Department of Labor began charging a 15 percent fine on October 1 to combat unemployment fraud. In its first month, officials reported they had collected $27,000 from 278 cases of fraud. Moving forward, they expect to bring in an extra $200,000 to $250,000 per year from collected fines. The newly imposed penalties are intended to send a message that committing fraud in the state of Nebraska will have consequences.

Nebraska’s unemployment fraud rate of one percent is relatively low in comparison to the national average – 2.9 percent. The state reports an estimated 98 percent of all overpayments are detected, and the department still has new detection methods to test out.

Kudos to Nebraska for 1) such a low rate of unemployment fraud in the first place, 2) its efforts to test new methods to prevent its existing fraud, and 3) its willingness to stand up to fraudsters and send a message. Hopefully, potential unemployment fraudsters in Nebraska hear the message loud and clear.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”New fine for unemployment fraud boosts state’s coffers” by Barbara Soderlin posted by Omaha World-Herald Monday, November 18, 2013.

Get caught cheating on your unemployment benefits, and you’ll have to do more than pay the money back. The Nebraska Department of Labor is now fining people who deliberately misstate earnings in a fraudulent attempt to collect benefits.

The 15 percent fine went into effect Oct. 1. In the first month it resulted in an extra $27,000 assessed in 278 cases of fraud, department officials said. The department expects to bring in an extra $200,000 to $250,000 per year because of the fines.

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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.