Beauty vs. Brains

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The argument for which is better – beauty or brains – is a subjective one. However, an article published by Fox News details the story of a young California woman who may have failed to understand the illegal correlation between collecting workers’ compensation benefits for a purported foot injury while competing in local beauty pageants. (Even though she may be beautiful, if the allegations are true, her decision to collect government benefits for a bogus injury would not be very smart.)

The story states that the 22-year-old woman claimed she was unable to perform her clerk duties at a local grocery store because she had broken her toe while on-the-job. She purportedly visited a medical facility, was given crutches and ordered to not work. Ironically, a few days later, she was photographed posing in a bikini and a pair of stilettos at a local beauty pageant. (Go figure. It’s amazing what a few days of rest can do.)

After the pageant, the woman made a return visit to her doctor where she allegedly claimed she was unable to put any weight on her foot or wear shoes. (Stilettos could definitely make it hard for anyone to walk.) Once again, she took several weeks off from work and reportedly competed in a few more beauty pageants. (Well, what else is she supposed to do with all of that free time?)

The defendant allegedly posted pictures of herself competing in several contests on social media. The images at issue eventually made their way to the California Department of Insurance. Already suspicious that her injury had not healed, the agency went after the beauty who neglected to use her brains.

As always, this woman is innocent until proven guilty. However, if convicted, she will face up to one year in jail and three years of probation. She also will have to pay $24,000 in restitution for the undeserved government benefits she received. (That’s a lot of money for a broken toe.)

The story doesn’t say whether or not the young woman was a finalist in any of the pageants, but if the allegations are true, neither her beauty nor brains proved beneficial in this case. Regardless of the outcome, let’s hope potential fraudsters see that agencies are on the lookout for fraud and think twice before stealing money from taxpayers.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”California Woman Arrested for Workers’ Comp Fraud After Competing in Beauty Pageants,” published by Fox News on August 13, 2014.

A 22-year-old California woman was arrested Friday for workers’ compensation fraud after online video allegedly showed her competing—in high heels– partaking in beauty pageants, after claiming that she was unable to work at a grocery store due to a fractured toe.

“People might want to say here’s a young lady who had beauty and bravado in making these claims, but it really didn’t add up on the brains side of it,” Byron Tucker, the state’s deputy insurance commissioner, told KTLA.com.

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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.