Think Twice

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A famous idiom urges circumspection by suggesting that one should think twice before doing something that may involve regret if plans go awry. According to WMC-TV, a Memphis man was sentenced for masterminding a fraudulent scheme that stole $400,000 from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). (Between this man and his brother – who led a separate scheme – more than $3.2 million was stolen from two government programs intended to help children.)

According to the story, the man illegally directed $400,000 in SNAP benefits to a grocery store that happened to be owned by his brother. (For more than two years, he recruited food stamp beneficiaries and paid them a fraction of what the benefits were worth.) The fraudster then redeemed the SNAP benefits at his brother’s store. (Like so many instances of fraud, this conspiracy was a family affair.)

During the same time period, the brother who owned the grocery store was also running a scheme that involved bilking the Child Care Certificate Program. (This government program helps underprivileged families cover the costs of child care so that parents can work.) The scam provided cash in exchange for child care certificates. The brother would then falsely report that the children had attended his daycare center, triggering reimbursement from the government program. (I wonder who was watching the kids?)

The story states that the brother who committed SNAP fraud was sentenced to 27 months in prison and must repay $200,000 in restitution. The brother, who owned the grocery store, was previously sentenced to 37 months in jail for redeeming $2.8 million in Child Care Certificates.

While these two brothers put their two heads together to come up with two fraudulent schemes against two government programs, they definitely didn’t think twice about the ramifications of being caught for their crimes. (Let’s hope that these two now understand that it would be prudent to think twice before ever stealing from the government again.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Mastermind of $400,000 SNAP fraud sentenced to prison,” written by WMCActionNews5.com Staff and published by WMC-TV on November 3, 2015.

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) – A judge sentenced the mastermind behind a scheme that defrauded the government of $400,000 to 27 months in prison.

According to the indictment, Ray Chism III bought Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, formerly known as Food Stamps, from recipients in exchange for cash. He did not pay the recipients what the SNAP benefits were worth, but then would redeem them for full monetary value.

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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.