Little Fraud, Red Flag


While it may sound counterintuitive, money made while selling illicit drugs qualifies as “earned income” (no kidding) if you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits. A report by The Citizen details a rather strange account of a New Yorker who, having already been convicted on two counts of fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, two counts of fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, landed back in court for this unusual fraud.

After serving his original two-year prison term on the drug conviction (having lost his appeal that he received an unfair sentence for skipping his original court appearance), the 50-year-old man faced charges of third-degree insurance fraud and fraudulent practices for failing to report $40 he earned from a drug sale while he was receiving workers’ compensation benefits. (Talk about waving a big red flag in front of government investigators. This time, the judge ordered him to serve another five years of probation and pay more than $13,000 in restitution to the state. (Will strike two keep him out?)

The article did not provide details about why the man may have been eligible to collect workers’ compensation in the first place. But even if he had suffered a disability as a result of a workplace injury, his story serves as a warning to those who think that even a little fraud will get overlooked.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on ”Cayuga County judge sentences Auburn man to probation on insurance fraud charges,” written by Jordyn Reiland and published in The Citizen on February 24, 2016.

AUBURN — An Auburn man will serve five years of probation and pay more than $13,000 in restitution after he failed to report income from a drug sale to his worker’s compensation insurance.

William Blake, 50, 15 Church St., pleaded guilty Nov. 17, 2015 to third-degree insurance fraud and fraudulent practices. Blake admitted before Cayuga County Judge Mark Fandrich that he failed to report $40 in income from a drug sale in 2012 while he was receiving workers’ compensation benefits.

The maximum sentence for the insurance fraud charge is 2 1/3 to seven years in prison and 1 1/3 to four years in prison for the fraudulent practices charge.

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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.