Fraud at First Sight

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People often meet their soul mates through friends or family, blind dates or serendipitous situations. In an article published in The Oregonian, one woman met her husband, who happened to be a prisoner, through an online dating service. (I’m not even going to tell you how many sites popped up when I did an Internet search on online dating services for prisoners.) Together they became partners in crime and carried off a fraudulent scheme that stole approximately $174,000 from the Internal Revenue Service.

The story states that the Portland woman orchestrated the tax fraud scheme with the help of her brother and her husband, who happened to be serving three consecutive life sentences without the possibility for parole. (The article reports that the man was in prison for the triple murder of his sister, her daughter and her granddaughter.)

The imprisoned husband supplied the identities of several fellow inmates to his wife so she could create bogus tax documents to obtain unearned tax refunds. (Further research revealed that the husband claimed that the fellow prisoners were willing participants in the scam.) The woman’s brother assisted with filing the false claims.

The woman pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and will serve two years in federal prison. Her brother was sentenced to 18 months for his role in the scam. The husband had an extra three years and one month added to the triple-life term he is already serving. (Three years aren’t going to make much of a difference to this criminal already imprisoned for life x 3.)

When asked by the judge why the woman married a man who was convicted of murder, the woman replied, ”It’s just something that happened.” Maybe it was love at first sight or the love of fraud at first sight. (Who knows? She did visit him once in jail.) Even though this imprisoned soul mate was perfect for this fraudster and her criminal aspirations, it’s a sure bet they will never be cell mates even though they are married. (We can all agree, this scam was not the best way to go about trying to spend more time with her husband.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Portland ID Thief Explains Why She Married a Triple-Murderer Locked Up for Life,” written by Bryan Denson and published in The Oregonian on February 3, 2015.

A Portland woman will serve two years in federal prison for her role in a scheme to steal $174,000 from the IRS – a tax fraud she committed with the help of her husband, a triple murderer serving life behind bars.

Loretta Johnson, who pleaded guilty last October to aggravated identity theft, apologized Tuesday before Senior U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones, saying she took responsibility for her crime.

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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.