No Laughing Matter

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Usually, when someone is sentenced for Medicaid and welfare fraud, they don’t leave the courtroom with a mandate to obtain a GED. (In fact most of the time, the only education that fraudsters get are lessons in how the American Justice system works.) But, according to a story in the Lafayette Journal & Courier, as part of her sentence one woman who was sentenced for illegally obtaining funds through welfare fraud in Lafayette, La., will have to take GED, parenting and financial management classes on top of her five-year prison sentence.

The defendant admitted to unlawfully receiving $19,607 in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, as well as $4,244.79 in Medicaid assistance.

The story explains that the fraudster will spend two years of her five-year sentence in a county correction facility, and that she will spend the remaining three years on probation under a suspended sentence. It is during this probationary period that the fraudster will have the opportunity to complete her GED, money management and parenting classes. (Hopefully this way she can proactively avoid future financial trouble, or at least if she does run into trouble again, her solution isn’t to defraud Louisiana SNAP and Medicaid programs.)

Additionally, the fraudster must repay $23,851.76 in restitution, with payments of $50 per month set to kick in while she’s in prison, increasing to payments of $125 per month once she’s on probation. (Because committing fraud always comes at a price.)

The consequences for committing fraud are no laughing matter. In this case, however, the court meted out a sentence involving restitution and providing the defendant a chance to better herself. One can only hope she takes it and changes her fraudster ways.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Woman receives 5-year sentence for welfare fraud,” written by Ron Wilkins and published by the Lafayette Journal & Courier on September 24, 2015.

Tramillia Ruth Benson-Lewis admitted to welfare fraud last month, and Thursday Tippecanoe Superior 1 Judge Randy Williams sentenced her to 5 years.

Benson-Lewis, 33, of Lafayette, will serve two years under the supervision of the Tippecanoe County Community Correction. Williams suspended three years of the sentence, but she will be on probation during that time.

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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.