Epic Fraud

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Some criminals are one-time offenders and learn their lesson the first time around. Others are unable to give up a life of crime and commit multiple offenses despite the punishment received for their illegal actions. A story posted on PilotOnline.com describes a Virginia identity thief whose fraudulent actions have reached epic proportions.

The story states that a woman was recently busted for stealing the identities of approximately 200 medical patients. She obtained the names, Social Security numbers and birth dates through her co-conspirator’s place of employment – a telephone answering and message service used by doctors and medical practices. Together, the two ladies used the personal information to access existing credit lines or open new ones at a variety of department stores. (They were even caught on video surveillance making fraudulent purchases for clothing, computer games and gift cards totaling $30,000.)

The article also states that this was not the woman’s first offense. She and her husband were previously involved in another identity theft scheme that targeted 80 military personnel. (Losses totaled more than $180,000.) Both were convicted and she received jail time for the scam that ran for approximately seven years.

The 56-year-old woman didn’t waste any time after being released from prison from her military identity theft offense before going after the next scheme involving the medical patients. In fact, she and her co-conspirator were both on supervised probation while arrested for the latest scam. (Did I mention that she was also ran another scheme employing identity theft to qualify for a mortgage and auto loan resulting in a loss of $24,000?)

The repeat offender was sentenced to five years in prison and will have to pay $99,000 in restitution for her recent scam. (What about the other $35,000?) Her co-conspirator is also set to be sentenced for the same charges.

This woman’s 28-year long crime spree has come to an end for now, but it remains to be seen if this round of punishment will be enough to stop her from committing identity theft in the future. At least for now, she will be prevented from using others’ hard-earned credit to steal valuable items she does not deserve.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Suffolk Woman to be Sentenced Today for Fraud, ID Theft,” written by Scott Daugherty and posted on PilotOnline.com on December 8, 2014.

The last time prosecutors took Sheila Clark Lewis before a federal court, she earned a conviction for stealing the identities of military personnel for personal gain, according to court documents.

This time, prosecutors say, she changed her approach: The 56-year-old Suffolk resident stole the identities of medical patients.

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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.