Disabling Welfare Fraud

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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, 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.