Fraud Finder

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It’s always interesting to discover how fraudsters spend their illegally gained funds. Some like fancy cars, luxurious houses or expensive vacations. A mom and son duo mentioned in an article posted on WAFF.com are charged with stealing approximately $100,000 from a government funded health center and spent the money on a boat, electronic fish finder (it’s no fun fishing if you can find the fish), truck tires (to pull the boat) and cell phones (to make a few calls while out fishing).

The story states that the mom was employed by a non-profit health center, which provided health care services to homeless people and other individuals living below the poverty level in the Birmingham area. While working at the center, the organization took over the fiscal and bookkeeping duties for another center, which provided health care to people in east Alabama regardless of their ability to pay for the services.

According to the plea agreement, the mother enlisted her son’s assistance with her job responsibilities. In return, she gave him access to the center’s bank accounts and occasionally let him use the center funds for personal purchases. (Now that’s what I call a really good allowance.) Records show that he gave a former girlfriend $3,500, made a few purchases at an electronics store and purchased a membership to an adult website.

The 59-year-old mom and 33-year-old son didn’t stop with stealing from the federally funded health center. They also admitted they failed to file their tax returns for nine years. (Oops. That April 15th deadline just came and went – nine times to be exact. We forgot?)

Both are charged with wire fraud and failing to file federal tax returns. The son has an additional charge of bank fraud. They both stuck a plea deal and agreed to testify against others involved in an investigation regarding how one of the health care centers used federal funding under a nationwide pilot project with federal and private foundation backing. Further research reveals that they could face up to 30 years in prison and fines of $250,000 unless their sentence is reduced due to their cooperation in the investigation.

The two federally funded health care centers mentioned in this article are part of a broad safety net designed for individuals who are unable to gain health insurance or qualify for Medicaid. The real crime is against the poor and uninsured folks who were unable to receive the services they deserve because of these greedy and selfish perpetrators. It looks like justice has prevailed again while this sorely misguided mother and her son were caught and reeled in for their criminal acts. (Perhaps the pair can make up for their crime by inventing an electronic fraud finder, a device that could detect and stamp out fraud worldwide. Sometimes it takes one to find one.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Records: Mom, Son Spent Federal Cash on Tires, Adult Website,” written by Chase Erwin and published on WAFF.com on August 27, 2014.

Federal prosecutors charged a Cullman mother and son in connection with a scheme to defraud federal government health agencies and a non-profit Alabama health center of more than $100,000 for personal use.

Prosecutors said that money was spent on electronic fish finders, truck tires, cell phones, and a membership with an adult website.

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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.