If lying happened to be an actual occupation, would you thrive?  Most of us probably wouldn’t.  Where’s the job satisfaction in withholding, omitting or altering the truth?  But if we think about it, being a fraudster is similar to lying as an occupation.  At least that’s what comes to mind when reading the Enterprise News article that is the focus of today’s Fraud of the Day.

In an economy that has not been forgiving to the unemployed, many rely on the state governments to provide assistance through unemployment benefits.  (Emphasis on the word “rely” and not the word, “steal.”)  Two New Englanders thought otherwise, lying to obtain benefits to which they were not entitled.  The duo collected a combined estimate of $61,000 in unemployment benefits, while still working full time.  (It’s hard to fill out the portion on the application that asks about your employment when you are a fraudster.  FYI – “Liar” is not an acceptable form of employment either.)

An investigation found the female fraudster of the duo applied and received benefits from November 2008 to October 2009.  During the 49-week period, she received benefits in the amount of $18,000 – all while she reported to the state that she was not working.  In truth, she worked a full time job that provided her with roughly $35,000.  She was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay more than $18,000 in restitution.  (I just needed some extra money, so I figured if I told them I wasn’t working, it wouldn’t matter.)  Her cohort received benefits in a similar fashion, pleading guilty to 89 counts of unemployment fraud and three counts of larceny over $250.  The judge sentenced him to five years of probation and ordered him to pay $43,000 in restitution.  (The thing about lying to the government is that when you get caught – it’s typically not a slap on the wrist.)

How the duo avoided jail time, I am not sure.  It’s a good lesson learned – lying doesn’t get you as far as you like.  And, if it does get you that far, you can rest assured that you’ll get caught and take a few steps backwards and closer to a prison cell.

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