Good, Bad and Ugly

6

The good thing about welfare is that a variety of programs exist to help disadvantaged individuals who live under a minimum accepted level of income. (Benefits can include child care, utilities, food, medical or vocational rehabilitation services just to name a few.) The bad thing about welfare, which is administered at a state level, is that there are many fraudsters who know how to ”work the system” to receive benefits for which they are not eligible. An article published in the News Leader follows a Virginia woman who was personally receiving support from multiple state welfare programs, while also operating a day care center. (You can’t receive state welfare benefits if you are earning an income above the minimum accepted level to qualify for support.)

The story states that the former day care owner received food stamps and Medicaid benefits before, as well as after opening her child care center. The woman falsified records for children who were not present at the day care center on the dates claimed and forged parents’ signatures without their knowledge. She was able to collect more than $9,700 from the state’s social services fund and more than $13,500 from the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Fund (SNAP) and Medicaid.

The 30-year-old woman pleaded guilty to 10 counts of welfare fraud and five counts of obtaining money by false pretenses. She faces a combined 300 years in prison. (Obviously, that is the worst case scenario.)

There is always a good side and a bad side to every situation; however, in this case the ugly truth is that this woman stole money from disadvantaged individuals who rightly qualified for assistance. Even though it seems to be hard to keep ahead of unscrupulous individuals who are constantly seeking to defraud, this case shows the commitment of government to track down and prosecute individuals who are only out for themselves.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Stuarts Draft Day Care Owner Convicted of Fraud,” written by Brad Zinn and published by the News Leader on March 13, 2015.

STAUNTON — The former owner of the now-closed Lil Angels Learning Center in Stuarts Draft pleaded guilty Friday to fraud and larceny charges totaling more than $20,000.

Stephanie Wood, 30, of Faber, was convicted in Augusta County Circuit Court on 10 counts of welfare fraud and five counts of obtaining money by false pretenses.

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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.