Three of a Kind

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Disciplines and interests as diverse as writing, computer science, mathematics and medicinal chemistry have their own meanings for the ”rule of three.” In Alabama, ”the rule of three” turned up when the rule of law was applied to numerous fraudsters. The Daily Home tells the story of three individuals from the same county who were guilty of claiming unemployment benefits to which they were not entitled. (Maybe we should be thankful there’s no ”rule of forty seven.”)

According to the story, the three were among 16 offenders across the state of Alabama who recently pleaded guilty or were convicted for violations of the Alabama Unemployment Compensation Law, resulting from their false statements to claim unemployment benefits. Their crimes were separate, but together the thefts from these three alone accounted for more than $25,000 in stolen funds. (Liars can be quite a liability.) Two of them ultimately admitted their guilt, and the third was convicted by a jury.

One woman pleaded guilty to theft of property in the first degree, and was sentenced to serve 30 months in jail. Her sentence was suspended for two years so that she could pay full restitution of $8,398 and $750 in fines and court costs. The man who pleaded guilty to theft of property in the first degree was sentenced to 36 months in prison, but his sentence was likewise suspended for two years so he could pay back the $13,035 in undeserved benefits along with $500 in fines and court costs. The man who took his case to trial was sentenced to serve 22 months in prison, but his sentence also was suspended pending restitution of $4,203 plus $500 in fines and court fees. (Let’s not suspend our disbelief—what are the chances that these unemployed fraudsters were responsible savers?)

Congratulations to the Alabama Department of Labor and to the local district attorneys with whom they cooperated to find and combat these crimes, and for reminding employers that keeping up-to-date records is the best way to prevent this type of fraud.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”3 Talladegans convicted of unemployment fraud,” written by Chris Norwood and published by The Daily Home on December 14, 2015.

Some 16 Alabamians have recently pleaded guilty to or been convicted of violations of the Alabama Unemployment Compensation Law by making false statements to claim benefits, according to a press release.

Three of those 16 were from Talladega County.

Joann Meadows, of Talladega, pleaded guilty in November to theft of property in the first degree, the release said. She was sentenced to 30 months in jail, suspended for two years pending full restitution.

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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.