Oh, Brother!

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Twins are known for having fun with creating confusion for those who can’t tell them apart. They can dress and act alike, fooling friends, teachers and even dates. A man at the center of today ‘s “Fraud of the Day” used his twin brother ‘s identity to collect more than half a million dollars in welfare benefits he didn’t deserve.

The former Queens, New York sanitation worker used the Social Security number (SSN) of his deceased brother, who died a day after he was born, to lead a double life more than three decades later. (He claimed that his dead brother was suffering from depression when he filed paperwork with the Social Security Administration and as a result, collected undeserved government benefits for 19 years.)

The fraudster reported separate addresses, driver ‘s licenses and bank accounts while carrying out the elaborate scheme. His fraudulent efforts enabled him to collect $216,481.80 from Medicaid; $15,024 from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); $209,902 in state rental subsidies; and, $140,398 from Social Security. (In all, that amounted to more than $580,000 in undeserved welfare benefits received while working for the Queens Department of Sanitation.)

The 54-year-old twin pleaded guilty in court to second-degree grand larceny, plus first-degree falsifying business records. (Both are felonies.) Apparently, he has promised to repay the agencies he defrauded. (He better deliver on that promise.)

Even though this set of twins created confusion for the benefits programs that were targeted, ultimately, the government saw through the scam and stopped this delinquent brother from doing any more harm. When he is eventually sentenced, he won’t be able to blame this crime on his brother and will have to take responsibility for his own actions.

Source: Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Queens sanitation worker posed as dead twin for welfare benefits,” published by the New York Daily News on January 24, 2017.

A Queens sanitation worker has pleaded guilty to impersonating his dead twin to pocket more than half a million in welfare benefits, authorities said Tuesday.

Thomas Murphy, 54, copped to using the social security number of his twin brother, Robert ,who died a day after their birth in 1962 ‚ to build a double-life and collect public benefits for nearly two decades.

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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.