Smoked salmon had a part to play in today’s “Fraud of the Day” article. A Gouldsboro, Maine woman, who was on the hook for embezzling money from a smoked salmon seafood business she managed, also committed unemployment fraud while working at a café/deli in Prospect Harbor. Before you reach for the capers, hard-boiled eggs, cucumbers and a baguette to go with the smoked salmon, I must inform you that Maine’s Department of Labor also had a command performance in today’s fraud saga. (By the time the department was done with today’s fraudster, you could say she was also smoked.)

The Maine woman started off her criminal streak by embezzling money from the seafood company where she had worked for 10 years. (So much for loyalty to the folks who paid her salary.) After pleading guilty, she was sentenced to serve three years in the Maine Department of Corrections with all but six months suspended. The judge also ordered two years of probation and restitution in the amount of $52,970.

Fast forward a bit to where the woman was working at a café in Prospect Harbor. Although she was gainfully employed, she filed for unemployment benefits while working there. In some unemployment fraud cases, individuals may report to the unemployment agency that they are looking for work, when they are not. They also might report contacting multiple employers, looking for work even though they had not. (This woman told a fish tale when she lied about her employment situation.)

Today’s fraudster collected unemployment benefits for more than two years while gainfully employed at the café/deli. (This is a crime because it obviously prevents qualified individuals from receiving the payments they need to survive until they can find another job.) The Maine Department of Labor was able to catch the 37-year-old poaching government benefits by cross checking the list of active claimants against the National Directory of New Hires and employer-reported quarterly wage data.

The Maine woman was convicted of unemployment fraud and sentenced to four years in the Department of Corrections, suspended and three years of probation. She must also pay restitution in the amount of $10,484 to the state’s Department of Labor. (If she fails to do so, she’ll have to serve out her four-year sentence in the slammer.)

For those of you who thought you might get a recipe for a Smoked Salmon Appetizer Platter at the end of this blog, sorry. Instead of a cocktail party, you’ve received an in-depth look into how to avoid being smoked. (No matter how enticing a recipe for unlawfully collecting unemployment benefits might appear, don’t bite.)

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Gouldsboro woman convicted of unemployment fraud,” published by The Ellsworth American on June 6, 2018.

ELLSWORTH — A Gouldsboro woman who pleaded guilty to embezzling money from her employer has also been convicted of theft by deception for fraudulently receiving unemployment insurance payments.

Rebecca Tetlow, 37, worked and earned wages while collecting unemployment benefits in 2015 and 2016, a press release from the Maine Department of Labor stated.

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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.