Employment ‘Faux-Par’

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Imagine this? it’s a nice breezy, warm day and you’ve lugged your golf bag over your shoulder, ready to get out on the course. As you walk up to your first tee, you have all intentions of shooting under par – though that achievement is not always the easiest to come by. You take a swing and shank the ball to the right. Perhaps you’ve committed a common faux pas of not flattening your swing. Try reminding yourself that golf takes practice, and even the big shots have a horrible small game from time to time. According to a PostStarNews article, an employee of a New York golf course may be reminding himself to watch his ”faux-pars” around his fraud game.

Seasonal employment is common at many golf courses – particularly those located in colder regions of the country. Even more commonly, those areas with high levels of seasonal employment often bring along the temptation to commit unemployment fraud. (What’s harder – getting away with unemployment fraud, or beating Tiger’s 14-under par performance at Torrey Pines?)Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Wilenken Sentencing,” published by PostStarNews on February 5, 2013.

Saugerties, NY — Leslie Wilenken, 58, of Ellenville, was sentenced last week in Ulster County Court after having pled guilty to felony Grand Larceny in the Third Degree for fraudulently collecting unemployment benefits. For the next 4 months, Wilenken will spend his weekends in the Ulster County Jail. He will remain on probation for the next 5 years and is ordered to work and pay restitution to New York State for the $15,392 in benefits that he stole. The case is illustrative of our continuing focus on fraud against government services.

In 2010 and 2011, Wilenken collected unemployment while failing to disclose that he was working as a seasonal laborer at the Town of Fallsburg’s Lochmoor golf course. During the 2011 golf season, Wilenken actually collected unemployment, which was being charged against the Town of Fallsburg, while simultaneously collecting a paycheck as a town employee. In early 2012, Wilenken again filed a new application for unemployment benefits. The Department of Labor discovered the fraud.

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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.