Bad Habits are Hard to Break

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Habits are easier to make than they are to break. An article published on Kentucky.com reports on a woman who had a bad habit of lying. She started her life of crime by lying about a disability on a Social Security Administration application. Then the fraudster lied about what she did for a living, while continuing to receive government benefits for her ‘disability.’ Then to top it off, she filed for bankruptcy, but fibbed about her assets. (The term ‘pathological liar’ comes to mind.)

The story states that the woman received disability checks over a 10-year period, even though she was not disabled. In fact, she was able to work and continued to work while lying about her employment status. The opportunist started a business that provided services to disabled people. (Something she seems to know a lot about.) Then, she began working with another business that received Medicaid payments to serve people with disabilities. (Court records stated that the woman had never been disabled.)

Then came the bankruptcy filing. According to the article, the woman was far from being bankrupt. She concealed assets that included a $493,000 online trading account, plus $220,000 in her attic safe. (I almost forgot to mention she also had a few trust accounts, rental properties and a Cadillac that was paid for in cash.) When asked why she lied about her assets, the fraudster’s defense attorney stated that the woman had been advised by previous lawyers that some of her assets would be protected from bankruptcy proceedings because they were in trusts or limited liability corporations. (Needless to say, the judge and the jury did not buy that story, otherwise, everyone would declare bankruptcy.)

The blame game didn’t work. The jury only deliberated for about two hours before finding the fraudster guilty on 14 counts of Social Security fraud and bankruptcy fraud. She is facing from five to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the first four counts. The remaining 10 counts for money laundering could get her 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine, or twice the value of the concealed property.

Most fraudsters are pretty good liars up to a point, but they eventually get caught. The story states that the woman was very disappointed by the verdict. (I wonder what she was expecting. Did she seriously think she would be found innocent?) Compulsive lying got this fraudster into a heap of trouble that will most certainly give her plenty of time behind bars to work on breaking her bad habit.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Jessamine County Woman Found Guilty of Social Security Fraud, Bankruptcy Fraud,” written by Greg Kocher and published on Kentucky.com on March 13, 2014.’

A federal jury on Thursday found a Jessamine County woman guilty on all 14 counts of an indictment charging her with Social Security fraud and bankruptcy fraud.

Sheryl A. Bruner was indicted in January on charges of receiving disability checks from the Social Security Administration when she could work, lying about her eligibility for disability, concealing assets from the agency, and making false statements when she filed for bankruptcy in May.

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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.