Fraud Triangle

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The Bermuda Triangle is known for swallowing up a number of aircraft and ships, which have disappeared over the years without a trace. (Can you hear the creepy music playing?) A story in the Post-Tribune details the instance of a ”fraud triangle” purportedly existing between three family members, one who is the owner of a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – approved store. While this particular triangle does not exist in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean, it does appear that quite a few government funds have simply disappeared.

The story states that the food mart owner allegedly allowed customers to use food stamps to purchase ineligible items such as cigarettes and receive cash back. (The SNAP program specifically states that cigarettes are a big ”no-no.”) Authorities claim the woman wired the money from the illegal transactions to an overseas account that she could access with her father. Although the article does not state the degree of alleged involvement of the woman’s brother, the two were both accused of defrauding the SNAP program of $473,000.

The woman has agreed to plead guilty to defrauding the federal government and will face up to 20 years in prison. Her brother has pleaded not guilty to the charges. As part of the plea deal, the woman has agreed to pay $401,300 in restitution and will turn over $20,000 to the government.

The sum of every triangle’s internal angles is equal to 180 degrees. Ironically, this fraudster will be forced to make a 180 degree turn or an ”about face” from her illegal actions. Let’s hope that her sentencing will help her to turn her back on fraud and make amends for her wrong-doing.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Gary Store Owner Faces 20 Years in Food Stamp Fraud,” published by the Post-Tribune on July 16, 2014.

The owner of a Gary food mart will plead guilty to defrauding the federal government by allowing customers to use their food stamps to buy cigarettes or even receive cash in return.

Ola Mohammad of Chicago faces up to 20 years in prison, according to her plea agreement, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Hammond.

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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.