Living a Life of Luxury

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You would be hard pressed to find a fraudster who was not interested in living a life of luxury. This selfish desire motivates many a criminal to commit crimes to finance their expensive tastes. The Washington Free Beacon reports on an Oregon man, who bragged about his lifestyle one too many times and was caught for collecting thousands of dollars in government benefits for his family, who did not live in the United States.

The article states that the unemployed man reportedly wore lots of jewelry and liked to show pictures of trips he took to Lebanon to the workers at a local pharmacy where he picked up prescriptions for family members. It turns out that over a 10-year period, the man had been participating in a scheme that involved four family members who had received disability, Medicaid and food stamp benefits, even though they lived in Lebanon for long periods of time. (This would obviously disqualify them from receiving government benefits during those times.)

An investigation ensued after the man requested more benefits from the Department of Homeland Security for home care services for his mother. (I’m guessing Mom really didn’t need any home care services. Greedy criminals will try anything to get more money.) Several state and federal agencies got involved in the case and over a four-year time period, investigators discovered that the family had received more than $220,000 of government benefits. (That would provide for a pretty nice lifestyle in Lebanon.) During a raid of the fraudster’s home, agents found a Mercedes in the garage and a tanning bed.

According to court records, the boastful fraudster pleaded guilty to Social Security fraud for collecting more than $8,000 in benefits that were intended for his disabled sister. (She was ineligible to receive these benefits because she lived outside of the U.S. for over a year.) The man also withdrew Supplemental Security Income payments for his parents who were living abroad as well. The sister pleaded guilty to Social Security Fraud (smart move), while the parents decided to flee the country.

The Oregon man was ordered to pay nearly $221,000 in restitution to the Social Security Administration for his criminal acts. (He’ll probably have to sell that Mercedes and a few items from his jewelry collection.) It’s a given that his prison sentence will not be a luxurious experience and let’s hope that he’ll soon learn how to live within his means.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Unemployed Man Who ‘Wore Lots of Jewelry’ Busted for Disability Fraud,” written by Elizabeth Harrington and published by The Washington Free Beacon on March 28, 2014.

An Oregon man described as someone who ”wore lots of jewelry” and ”flashed pictures of trips to Lebanon” was caught in a disability fraud scheme that cost the government more than $200,000.

Jason I. Boutros, 49, bought a silver Mercedes SL500 roadster and a tanning bed with the help of the federal government, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA).

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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.