Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

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Life is usually not fair and it rarely goes the way we expect. But, that doesn’t mean it’s o.k. to commit a crime to ease a financial burden. (That should never be an option, but desperate times often call for desperate measures.) A Kentucky grandmother neglected to report the death of her husband for more than 20 years in order to support her family.

Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” case is somewhat different in that although the woman illegally collected federal retirement benefits over 20 years, she did not use it to selfishly fund a lavish lifestyle. Prosecutors noted that she did not apply for any other government funds that she would have been likely to qualify for such as food stamps. The grandmother also worked at several low-paying jobs to make ends meet. (I have to give her credit for not being the typical fraudster, but what she did is still illegal no matter how you look at it.)

The 61-year-old grandmother and primary caretaker of four grandchildren pleaded guilty to theft of government property and illegal receipt of Social Security benefits. Although guidelines recommended 12 – 18 months in prison, she was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay $167,945 in restitution.

While it’s easy to see why this woman’s good intentions got her into trouble, it’s also important to note that it’s not fair to place honest taxpayers’ retirement plans in jeopardy for personal reasons. It’s too bad that she did not apply for other government benefit programs that were readily available. She probably would have qualified for several types of government assistance that would have enabled her to care for her family in a legal manner.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, ”Woman gets probation for SS fraud, must repay $176K in ill-gotten benefits,” published by The Bowling Green Daily News on October 27, 2016.

A Bowling Green woman who admitted to claiming federal retirement benefits intended for her dead husband for more than 20 years has been ordered to pay $167,945 in restitution.

Yvonne Franklin, 61, had pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to theft of government property and illegal receipt of Social Security benefits and was sentenced Monday.

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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.