The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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Self-love abounds when it comes to fraudsters. True to form, today’s “Fraud of the Day” article readily demonstrates that an Enid, Oklahoma mom, whose last name was Good, put herself way ahead of the well-being of her children, especially her four-year-old daughter. The young woman turned out not to be so good and committed Medicaid fraud and food stamp fraud by concocting a false story that her young daughter had a devastating illness with no hope for a cure. (As you might guess, there was nothing wrong with her daughter.)

The 33-year-old mother of four was convincing in her efforts to spread the word about her daughter’s condition within her church, community and beyond. (She told everyone who would listen that her young daughter had cancer, experienced seizures, was undergoing stem cell research and was on a heart transplant waiting list.) She used Facebook and GoFundMe to reach the world, stating that the 4-year-old had been diagnosed with lymphoma and had a brain tumor removed at a young age, among other medical issues.

 As if her fake story was not bad enough, many people bought into it and that’s where things got ugly. The heart-wrenching story garnered support including numerous fundraisers and private donations totaling thousands of dollars. But there was suspicion that all was not as it seemed. Fellow church members offered to help with driving the child to the doctor or watching the siblings. The mom usually declined the offers of assistance, claiming appointment cancellations. (She just wanted the money.) An investigation was opened when a pastor from the church where she solicited help reported his skepticism to local law enforcement officials. (After three years of assisting the family, he knew that something wasn’t right. The little girl appeared to be normal.)

An investigator began with examining the child’s medical records, and while she had received medical care for multiple issues, there was no record of cancer or stem cell research. (And, go figure, she was not on the heart transplant list either.) The investigation also revealed the thousands of dollars raised on her daughter’s behalf despite the fact she did not have cancer.

The Oklahoma woman entered a blind plea, which is a guilty plea without a set sentence, to charges related to child abuse, Medicaid fraud and food stamp fraud. She was sentenced to three years in jail and 17 years of probation, just on one charge of child abuse. (The fraudster subjected her daughter to multiple therapy evaluations that were unnecessary due to her false portrayal of the child’s illness.) The remaining eight charges were suspended and were to run concurrent to one another, but consecutive to the child abuse sentence. She also received suspended sentences to run concurrent with the other suspended sentences for food stamp fraud and Medicaid fraud. The deceptive mother was also ordered to pay restitution of $69,565.48, plus court costs, a $1,000 fine, and associated fees.

During sentencing, the judge made it clear that he was very unhappy with her very selfish crime. He told the woman that telling her child and the young girl’s siblings that she was going to die from cancer was “extremely cruel abuse.” (It was also abuse of the state welfare system to steal more than $45,000 in benefits that could have gone to someone else who had a legitimate need.) This was not just a financial crime, it also inflicted harm on others by betraying their trust with lies. Even though this woman’s last name was Good, her greed caused her to make bad choices, which led to an ugly fallout. (Suffice to say, there is nothing pretty about fraud.)

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Woman who lied about daughter’s cancer gets prison time,” published by Enid News & Eagle on October 23, 2017.

ENID, Okla. — A woman charged last year with welfare fraud, child abuse and obtaining money by false pretense after lying about her daughter’s treatment for cancer was sentenced to time in prison Monday following a hearing.

Jessica Lynn Good, 33, also known as Jessica Lynn Liebsch-Good, was sentenced to three years in Department of Corrections custody and 17 years probation. She also was ordered to repay $69,565.48 in restitution.

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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.