Trouble on the Tarmac

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Airport transportation security officers are responsible for inspecting passengers and their baggage, plus equipment and cargo to make sure that government guidelines established by the Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration are met. The job, which often requires weekend, evening and holiday work, puts these security personnel in situations where they must lift heavy items, conduct pat-down searches and deal with unhappy passengers. (It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.) A former transportation security officer at a Cape Cod, Massachusetts municipal airport committed workers’ compensation fraud when he didn’t own up to running another business on the side, while collecting government benefits for an on-the-job injury.

Today’s fraudster was employed as a transportation security officer at the Cape Cod airport for nine years until he claimed a workplace injury rendered him unable to work, imposing severe limitations on his physical activities. He qualified for and began to receive workers’ compensation benefits. (That’s when his fraud scheme took off.)

About four years later, the former transportation security officer started providing lawn irrigation services in exchange for cash. (That’s so his illegal earnings could fly under the government’s radar.) Ironically, while working this extra job, he engaged in the physical activities he claimed he could not. He also lied on a Department of Labor form stating he didn’t earn any other income other than his disability benefits. (That’s when he began to experience some turbulence.)

The former security officer’s approach to fraud caused him to have a rough landing at the Cape Cod airport. The 76-year-old man pleaded guilty to workers’ compensation fraud. (Over one year, the former transportation security officer received $38,052 in federal benefits he did not deserve.) He was sentenced to six months of probation and ordered to pay $38,052 in restitution to the Department of Labor for lying about his situation.

This fraudster thought he was walking down the jetway to freedom when he started scamming the government. (After all, why not have the government to send you free money without having to do anything in return.) Fortunately, his plane didn’t get up to cruising altitude before the tower directed him to land the plane. His trip was cut short and now his retirement years are going to be a little different than originally planned.

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, Former Cape Cod TSA worker sentenced in workers’ comp fraud case,” posted on CapeCod.com on September 18, 2017.

BOSTON – A former Transportation Security Officer from Cape Cod pleaded guilty and was sentenced last week in federal court in Boston to fraudulently obtaining over $30,000 in workers’ compensation.

Richard A. Mariani, 76, of West Dennis, pleaded guilty to one count of fraud in obtaining federal employee compensation and was sentenced by U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge M. Page Kelly to six months of probation and ordered to pay $38,052 in restitution to the Department of Labor.

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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.