Bad Acting

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Good actors can make you believe they are actually experiencing what their character is going through. They also have the ability to surprise their audience. A couple from Montgomery, Alabama starred in a government-funded Social Security fraud scheme, but did not bring home an Oscar due to their bad acting job. (You could say that their lame acting skills did not convince nor surprise the presiding judge.)

The couple lied about their incomes and living arrangements so they could fraudulently obtain Social Security benefits on behalf of the woman’s minor son. The mother lied to Social Security employees in Dothan, Alabama, telling them she was working as an actress in California. (Her husband had exclusive custody of her son back in Alabama.)

 The mother hid the truth from the Social Security officials so that her income would not be considered when determining her son’s eligibility for benefits. Based upon her husband’s income, the couple was able to obtain approximately $25,000 in Social Security benefits they were not entitled to collect. (As you might guess, they didn’t use the money on their son. Instead, they bought a vehicle with the government funds.)

This is where the plot takes a turn. The woman was actually an employee of the Social Security Administration in Montgomery, Alabama when she applied for the undeserved benefits. (Perhaps she had dreamed of stardom and riches from her fraudulent scheme, but the critics panned her pathetic performance.) It turns out that the Alabama woman used similar tactics to falsely claim food stamps. (I guess she figured that if it worked with one benefit program, why not try another one.)

 When the husband learned he was under investigation, he tried to persuade his next-door neighbor to lie to investigators about the family’s living arrangements. (I’m sure that involved an emotional scene with much begging. Cue the sad music.)

 The 35-year-old woman and her 30-year-old husband were both convicted of food stamp fraud and Social Security fraud. In addition, the husband was also convicted of witness tampering. The couple faces up to 20 years in prison for their bad performance. It’s a given that these two fraudsters will never get an acting job in Hollywood or with the Social Security Administration, for that matter. (It looks like the show was a failure and the curtains have closed on this fraud performance for good.)

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article, “Montgomery couple convicted in Social Security fraud case,” posted on wsfa.com on February 16, 2018.

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) – An Alabama couple is facing up to 20 years in prison for charges related to a fraud investigation, officials with the Department of Justice confirmed.

Nakia and Nathaniel Palmer were both convicted of mail fraud and theft of government property after illegally obtaining $25,000 in Social Security benefits.

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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.