A FRAUDian Slip

65746451 - profession, people, healthcare, medicare and medicine concept - close up of happy medics or doctors pointing finger at hospital corridor

Are you familiar with Sigmund Freud’s idea of the ”Freudian Slip?’? Here’s one lay person’s explanation? the Freudian Slip, also known as parapraxis, is a mere error in speech usually triggered when someone is subconsciously thinking about something that is revealed through what they are saying unintentionally. While Freudian Slips are usually comical to an audience, the ”slipper” can be left a little embarrassed. According to a San Diego 6 article, one California psychologist made more than a Freudian Slip; rather, she made a huge ”fraudian” slip giving way to her disability scam.

A California clinical psychologist found himself in a sticky situation, after authorities caught on to his $1.5 million disability scam. His job was to help people; however, over a six-year period beginning in 2006, the psychologist was busy using his patients to defraud the Social Security Administration (SSA). The fraudster was sentenced to nearly two years in prison and repayment of the stolen benefits after officials confirmed he had certified dozens of able-bodied patients to be ”disabled.”

The investigation found that the scam went deeper than just classifying able-bodied individuals as disabled. Rather, the psychologist went as far to make up patient histories, fabricate test results, suggest complaints and symptoms the patients did not have and intentionally underestimate the patient’s scores on standardized tests. (It’s almost like playing pretend Psychologist. Now bring in the imaginary friends/patients for diagnosis, so we can file disability with the U.S. government.) Court documents reveal the psychologist charged his patients a kick-back of $200 for each false report.

In court, the fraudster admitted to falsifying the disability documents submitted to SSA and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to allow immigrants to skip civics and English-language portions of citizenship exams. As a result, DHS granted citizenship to around 50 individuals who were not disabled, as labeled by the defrauding psychologist. He told the court that he even coached the individuals to use poor language and demonstrate habits that would support his claims on their false disability forms. Through investigations led by DHS, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of SSA, one-third of his patient records were discovered to be false. With the teaming of agencies to crack down on disability fraud, we are likely to see more what we call ”Fraudian” slips. (This type of cooperation is exactly what we need to stop scams like this one.)

I find it a little ”punny” for a psychologist to have such a large ”fraudian” slip. Maybe he can start up a new practice while he sits in prison for the next 21 months.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”National City Psychologist Get Prison For Disability Fraud,” published by San Diego 6 on May 29, 2013.

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A clinical psychologist from National City was sentenced Wednesday to nearly two years in federal prison for fraudulently obtaining government disability benefits via a scheme in which the Social Security Administration was swindled out of at least $1.5 million.

While handing down the 21-month custody term in federal court in downtown San Diego, Chief District Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz also ordered Roberto J. Velasquez, 55, to repay the funds he illicitly obtained.

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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.