Who Can You Trust?

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If you can’t trust your family, who can you trust? Sadly, many fraudsters use family members, either deceased or living, to commit fraud. Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” covers three defendants in two separate cases who victimized their family members for personal gain.

The first case involves the daughter of a deceased man who continued to collect his workers’ compensation benefits for four months following his death. The man’s family failed to notify Ohio’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) that he had died, and collected his benefits for four months before being caught. During that time, she withdrew more than $6,000 from multiple ATM’s using her deceased father’s debit card. (She gave half of the funds to her brother.)

The 36-year-old woman pleaded guilty to a felony count of workers’ compensation fraud. She will be sentenced pending a judge-ordered investigation. The brother is scheduled for a pre-trail.

Another case involved a woman who was living with a relative. She stole her relative’s BWC check and cashed it without permission. The 38-year-old woman pleaded guilty to a first-degree misdemeanor count of theft. She was sentenced to 90 days in jail; however, she received 30 days credited for time served and another 60 days suspended if she pays $862 in restitution. (Sounds like she got off easy.)

Family ties are supposed to be strong, but when someone victimizes a family member, relationships are changed forever. It can be quite shocking to learn that someone you have known and trusted for most of your life is not who you think they are. (I’m guessing that the next family barbeque for these fraudsters may be a bit awkward.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, ”Convicts stole work comp benefits from family members,” published by Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation Special Investigations Unit on January 31, 2017.

BWC investigators secured seven fraud-related convictions in December that included two cases where the convicts had stolen injured workers’ benefits from family members.

In a case in northwest Ohio, the children of a deceased claimant cashed out their father’s BWC benefits for four months following his death in 2014. Cecilia Williams, 36, of Fayette, Ohio, pleaded guilty Dec. 20 to a fifth-degree felony count of workers’ compensation fraud. Her sentence is pending a pre-sentence investigation ordered by a Fulton County judge.

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Larry Benson
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.