Collusion

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Collusion is usually not a good thing. When people collude, they are usually trying to deceive or mislead. A story published by the Portland Press Herald tells about a husband and wife team who colluded about their living situation in order to collect state welfare, food stamps and Social Security benefits over a three-year period of time.

The story states the 52-year-old woman did not disclose that she lived with her husband because she knew it would make her ineligible for the government benefits. Her 45-year-old husband even submitted a letter to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services stating that he had lived with his sister, when he actually lived with his wife. (The husband earned enough money to make his wife ineligible for any government benefits.)

The wife pleaded guilty to one count of Social Security fraud and one count of theft of federal money. She faces up to 10 years in federal prison for theft and up to five years for fraud. The husband pleaded guilty to making a false statement. He is looking at up to five years in prison. Both may be required to each pay a fine of $250,000.

It never pays to deceive or mislead anyone, especially the federal government. In this case, a little collusion between husband and wife resulted in a huge collision with the federal government. They no longer have to worry about living arrangements. It looks like they are going to be settling in to their own individual jail cells. It looks like they will no longer be living or colluding together.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Kennebunk Couple Plead Guilty to Welfare Fraud,” written by Scott Dolan and published by the Portland Press Herald on August 15, 2014.

A Kennebunk husband and wife each pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Portland to federal charges stemming from their claim that they did not live together, allowing the wife to continue collecting state welfare, food stamps and federal Social Security benefits.

Carol Welch, 52, pleaded guilty to one count of Social Security fraud and one count of theft of federal money. Her husband, Scott Welch, 45, pleaded guilty to making a false statement.

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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.