Cashing in on the Vulnerable

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11472310 - business man writing a check

Fraudsters love to cash in on the vulnerabilities of their victims, especially the disabled and the deceased. A man who owned a North Miami check cashing business cashed in on more than 2,000 victims in these two categories, netting more than $11 million in the process.

An article published by The Miami Herald details that the business owner carried out the scheme, which lasted for two years, by stealing identities and making false identification documents. Evidence presented in court showed that the criminal possessed more than 900 false driver’s licenses, work permits and green cards.

The check cashing business owner typically kept 50 percent of the value of the checks he cashed, ranging from $1,000 to $9,000 each. (The checks were issued in the names of deceased people, disabled people and others who don’t typically file tax returns.) He used the fees to buy a cargo ship, several vehicles and the rights to a hip-hop album. (What happened to taking luxurious vacations, buying mansions and going on a shopping spree? This fraudster has taken cashing in on fraud to a totally different level.)

The 36-year-old man was convicted of money laundering, theft of government funds, stealing identities and possessing fake driver’s licenses. He faces up to 20 years in prison for his illegal acts. Let’s hope that when this fraudster is sentenced, the justice system will send a strong message to anyone else trying to capitalize on the vulnerabilities of others – there are severe consequences for those who try to steal what they do not deserve.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, ”North Miami man convicted of cashing $11 million in tax-refund checks for dead people,” published by The Miami Herald on September 7, 2016.

His North Miami business cashed more than 2,000 tax refund checks issued in the names of people who were dead or disabled.

The refunds added up to more than $11 million, courtesy of the Internal Revenue Service.

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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.