Backyard of Secrets

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Everyone has at least one secret they try to keep private. Maybe you’re a terrible cook; you can’t stand your brother’s kids or still have a collection of baseball cards in storage. If you’re a criminal, you’re likely hiding more from the world than the average person. According to an article released by the Office of the Inspector General for the Social Security Administration, an Ohio woman had more to hide than fraud – including a body in the backyard.

Investigators were shocked to crack what they thought would have been a rather ”normal” case of Social Security fraud. (I’ve seen some weird ones, but this takes the cake.) An Ohio woman accused of defrauding the Social Security Administration (SSA) will serve 30 days in jail for claiming Social Security benefits that belonged to her deceased mother. (I promise…her secret gets weird.) What was alarming was not the amount stolen, or the fact she did not stop the benefit payments; rather, officials found the remains of the mother in the daughter’s backyard.

The SSA paid a visit to the fraudster’s home in 2011, seeking proof that the mother, who would have been 103 (a big red flag), was still alive. Further investigations by the SSA discovered the mother’s death occurred in 1997 – and it was clearly not reported at the time. Between 1997 and 2011, the woman continued to collect and cash her mother’s benefits, totaling nearly $141,962. Apart from jail time, a judge sentenced her six months of home confinement and three years of court supervision.

It’s not every day a fraud case ends in the SSA needing to dig up remains to prove Social Security benefit fraud. Perhaps some secrets are better kept on the ”down-low.”

Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Ohio Women Sentenced to Prison for Social Security Fraud,” published by the Office of the Inspector General, SSA on June 20, 2013.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Ohio Women Sentenced to Prison for Social Security Fraud,” published by the Office of the Inspector General, SSA on June 20, 2013.

Patricia Hodges, 66, of Marietta, Ohio has been ordered to repay $141,962 in Social Security benefits she collected on behalf of her dead mother, serve 30 days in prison and six months of home confinement as part of a three-year period of court supervision.

Carter M. Stewart, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Elias Papoulias, Resident Agent in Charge, Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, announced the sentence imposed today by Senior U.S. District Judge George C. Smith.

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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.