Lately popular media has been concerned with “what’s trending,” meaning what’s popular.  While you personally may track what’s trending in sports, music or politics, individuals fighting fraud are paying attention to what’s trending in fraud.  Today’s Fraud of the Day from WestportNews.com highlights a trend that may be catching on in the world of fraud – elderly participation.

The article reports that a local Hartford resident recently pleaded guilty to unemployment fraud, claiming $313,000 in unemployment benefits on behalf of herself and her 87-year old father.  Prosecutors claim she received nine checks in the amount of $501 from the state Department of Labor (DOL) between December 2008 and March 2009.  In addition, she contacted DOL in January 2009, reporting she had been fired from a fictitious company.  The defendant will serve 90 days in federal prison, followed by one year supervised parole and a fine of $250.  (Wait, where’s the $313K?)

The female fraudster followed in the footsteps of her father, who pleaded guilty to a 14-year mail fraud scam, also using aliases and fake companies to collect unemployment benefits for himself, amongst other members of his family.  (What’s trending? Elderly fraudsters.)   The father suffered a stroke and died before his sentencing.  The family fraud was brought down by investigations by the Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General, and the U.S. Postal Service.

What’s trending is typically associated with a popularity contest.  In the case of what’s trending in the world of fraud, we can bet that that the popularity of those convicted may take a plunge.

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