The Irony of Multi-tasking

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Multi-taskers take pride in getting multiple things done all at the same time. (The goal is efficiency, but ironically, you end up with additional time to do even more things. It’s a vicious cycle.) An article posted on RadioIowa.com tells the story of a Des Moines woman who was quite the multi-tasker when it comes to scamming the government out of benefits she did not deserve.

The article states that the 48-year-old woman scammed the government through immigration fraud, Social Security fraud, identity theft, subsidized housing fraud, health care fraud, and food stamp fraud. (Wow, that’s quite a long ”To Do” list.)

Apparently, the woman committed immigration fraud by tricking her doctor into completing fake immigration documentation for two Vietnamese nationals seeking U.S. citizenship. (Because they were unable to pass the language and civics portions of the test required for naturalization, she got involved to help out with the process.) Even though federal authorities rejected the fake paperwork, she continued to try to convince them that the applicants deserved an exemption because they were medically unable to pass the exams. (Maybe they strained their brain.)

She also abused the Social Security program by collecting more than $59,000 in undeserved benefits from multiple people who had left the United States. In addition, she did not disclose the fraudulently received income over a three-year period of time, which made her ineligible to receive $33,600 in Social Security payments.

And as if that was not enough, she also used the Social Security number of a man who returned to Vietnam to fraudulently receive state rental reimbursement funds. The fraudster submitted claims stating he was renting an apartment in Des Moines and subsequently received $3,600. (Did I mention that she also lied about her true income and assets to the Department of Housing and Urban Development and received subsidized housing for herself?)

While this woman was busy checking off items on her fraud ”To Do” list, she added Medicaid fraud to the mix. She altered a form from her physician to certify that she was eligible for Medicaid support. (Her application was approved and her daughter was paid by the State of Iowa to provide the unnecessary care for her mother.)

Last, but not least, after an elderly food assistance recipient returned to Vietnam, the woman redirected his Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) transfer card sent to her post office box and used it for several years. (Court reports show that she spent nearly $200 at a local Wal-Mart.) In total, she defrauded the government of more than $10,000 in benefits.

This multi-tasker was convicted on 22 federal felony counts by jury and is currently awaiting sentencing. It’s hard to say how this case will end, but because she took on too many fraudulent tasks at a time, she ironically decreased her efficiency at defrauding the government and may be looking at a lot of extra time on her hands in the near future.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Des Moines Woman Convicted on Multiple Felony Counts of Fraud,” written by Dar Danielson and posted on RadioIowa.com on April 6, 2015.

A Des Moines woman was recently convicted on 22 federal felony counts in the Southern District of Iowa. Forty-eight-year-old Julia Nguyen was convicted by a jury of attempted immigration fraud, theft of federal government funds, social security fraud, false use of a social security number belonging to another person, aggravated identity theft, making material false statements to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, health care fraud and mail fraud in connection with the Iowa food assistance program.

Information from the U.S. Attorney’s office says the two immigration fraud charges relate to events in 2007. Nguyen tricked a local doctor into completing false immigration documentation for two Vietnamese nationals who were seeking to become U.S. citizens, but had had difficulty passing the language and civics portion of the naturalization process. Although federal officials rejected the paperwork after it was submitted, Nguyen nevertheless tried to convince federal authorities that the applicants were medically unable to pass the exams, and should be granted exemptions.

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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.