The idiom “A Dime a Dozen” refers to something that is easy to come by or common.  It could also refer to the price of a dozen eggs way back in the 19th century, but today’s reference for the expression points to one bad egg, who used nearly four dozen stolen identities (a commonly committed fraud these days) to collect $290,494 in unemployment insurance benefits. (He definitely made more than a dime a dozen on this scheme – an average of $6,600 per victim is more like it.) The Orlando Sentinel reports that a former Wilton Manors man scammed 44 people from Florida and Massachusetts through two fictitious companies that claimed to assist borrowers in restructuring mortgage loans with lenders to lower interest rates.

The fraudster hit the jackpot in Florida by obtaining the names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers of 21 people.  He then created fraudulent W-2 documents, listing his victims as employees of his company, with the purpose of accumulating wage credits in their names.  After a period of time, the business owner would classify the so-called “employees” as laid off and file fake unemployment compensation benefits applications.  More than $219,000 was deposited directly into his bank account through electronic funds transfers.  The scam worked so well in Florida that he opened a similar company in Massachusetts and stole the identities of 23 people, allowing him to pocket more than $70,000 in unemployment benefits.

The fraudster was convicted of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.  He was sentenced to five years in federal prison and three years of probation.  He was also ordered to pay restitution to both states.

After the federal penitentiary is done with the con man, let’s hope he will have learned how to make an honest dollar.  Anyone ready to take bets on that?

  1. In order of priority, this fraud may have been addressed earlier if the following was in place:
    1. An Identity Verification process at the front end of a claim to verify the claimants identity using a Knowledge Based Authentication service.
    2. Varies types of reports that are designed to identify commonalities in initial claims and/or claiming weekly benefits.
    3. Reports identifing companies not making tax benefit payments, but having claims filed by former “employees.”

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