Temp Job Leads One to Rob

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In order for temporary workers to function effectively, they often must be given the same access and responsibilities as regular employees. But the damage can be far from temporary when one of them takes advantage of the situation. In January, the Indy Star reported that a woman employed by a temporary staffing firm was assigned to an Indiana state contractor in charge of administering welfare benefits. While there she was caught abusing her position to illegally collect social services checks for herself and others. (The crime itself is bad enough, but it also casts an unfair shadow over every honest temp employee out there.)

The scope of her work included evaluating applicants’ eligibility for social services, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP). Prosecutors allege that she took advantage of this position by forging documents and engaging in corrupt business influence (a fancy term for sharing her fraud with others), among other crimes, so that she could steal more than $100,000 from the state-sponsored programs that her company administered.

Soon the woman faced more than 35 felony charges, including perjury, forgery and theft, for her activities that illegally secured more than $20,000 in benefits for others and $79,489 for herself (okay, so she’s not that good at sharing). Ultimately, she accepted a plea agreement that required her to admit to charges welfare fraud and forgery—both felonies—and repay the government for the stolen benefits. She also was sentenced to two years community corrections, followed by four years of probation. (Let’s hope there’s one permanent outcome of this case: an example to others that fraud leaves a mark.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on ”Woman pleads guilty to welfare fraud,” written by Marisa Kwiatkowski and published by the Indy Star on January 26, 2016.

An Indianapolis woman agreed to repay the government for $79,489 in taxpayer-funded benefits that she received but wasn’t entitled to, Marion Superior Court records state.

Leticia Falconer, who was an employee of the contractor that administers Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, pleaded guilty last week to felony charges of welfare fraud and forgery. She was sentenced to two years in community corrections, followed by four years of probation.

In return for Falconer’s guilty plea, prosecutors dismissed 34 other felony charges — including corrupt business influence, perjury, forgery and theft — that were pending against her, court documents state. She must pay at least $30 per week toward the $79,489 in restitution she owes. If she fails to make a payment, she will go to prison, according to court records. After Falconer completes her six-year sentence, the remaining amount she owes will turn into a civil judgment.

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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.