Pointing the Finger

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10417921 - electronic funds transfer

An article in the Post-Tribune reports that an Illinois couple purportedly used government funding to purchase a restaurant and when caught by authorities, tried to pin the blame on the former owners. (Have you heard the saying that when you point the finger at someone else, there are three fingers pointing back at you? This is most likely the case with this fraud duo.)

The rather complicated story states that the man and his wife also ran a daycare center for the children of impoverished families. These families happened to be undocumented immigrants, who lived beside and worked at the restaurant owned by the two. However, the husband insisted that the previous restaurant owners were the ones responsible for hiring the undocumented workers in the first place and that they hid that fact from the husband when purchasing the restaurant. (Did I mention that the couple overinflated the number of children they watched at the daycare to receive additional government funding? They even continued to count one child that had died. I’d say these two fraudsters did a bit of fact hiding as well.)

A jury convicted the husband of wire fraud and harboring undocumented immigrants. He was sentenced to more than four years prison, while his wife will serve one day before beginning a one-year home detention sentence. They were both ordered to pay $203,844 in restitution, but the husband has to pay an additional $8,830.

The couple’s lawyer argued that they were not knowledgeable about running a restaurant, so they hired one of the former restaurant owner’s employees to manage the business for them. (It sounds like they were way in over their heads.) According to the owners, this employee skimmed money from the restaurant business. All finger pointing aside, the former owners were not linked to the money laundering scheme, even though a federal investigation did determine that they did hire and employ undocumented immigrants. It looks like the only people that can legitimately point fingers are the underprivileged children, who won’t receive financial assistance as a result of this couple’s illegal actions.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Illinois Couple Sentenced for Money Laundering, Fraud,” written by Teresa Auch Schultz and published by the Post-Tribune on June 18, 2014.

Despite continuing to point the finger at a local family of restaurateurs, an Illinois man will serve more than four years in prison for laundering money through a Schererville restaurant he staffed with illegal immigrants.

Michael McClellan’s wife, Tina McClellan, will serve just one day in prison, however, before starting a sentence of a year on home detention for her role in the crime.

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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.