Disabling Welfare Fraud


Disability claims examiners have the job of deciding whether or not the claims made by benefit applicants are valid or not, ensuring that only qualified beneficiaries receive government assistance. An article posted on CentralMaine.com tells the story of a former state disability claims examiner who applied for and received welfare benefits that she did not deserve. (Perhaps she thought she knew the system well enough that she could score some assistance for herself.)

The story states that the former disability claims examiner received welfare benefits from the State of Maine for a period of four years. (She qualified for the assistance because she claimed that her children were living with her fifty percent of the time, even though they were only present on the weekend.)

The 33-year-old woman was convicted of one count of theft by deception. She was ordered to serve a 21-month prison sentence and will pay $50,000 in restitution. As a result of the case, the woman lost her job and has been unemployed for the past year-and-a-half. (That might make it difficult for her to repay restitution.)

Because welfare benefits are based on income and household size, it is important to be honest when declaring that information. (Did she think no one would check up on her?) This case proves that the government takes fraud seriously and will do what is necessary to disable perpetrators from committing fraud, no matter the amount.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Former DHHS Worker from Winthrop Sentenced for Welfare Fraud,” written by Betty Adams and posted on CentralMaine.com on December 15, 2014.

AUGUSTA — A Winthrop woman who was fired as a disability claims examiner for the state Department of Health & Human Services was ordered Monday to serve 21 months in prison and to pay $50,000 in restitution for illegally collecting state benefits for several years.

Crystal Hodsdon, 33, was convicted by a judge on Oct. 31 of one count of Class B theft by deception, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Hodson was sentenced Monday to six years in prison with all but 21 months suspended.

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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.