Hocus Pocus

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You wake up. You get dressed. You brush your teeth and try not to get toothpaste on your cornflower blue shirt. You go to work. Or, while at least that’s how it works for most of us, there are those who believe that a few magic spells can bring them anything their heart desires. At least that’s how it appears in today’s Fraud of the Day from The Salem News which reports that a Salem, Massachusetts resident admitted to 70 counts of unemployment fraud and a count of larceny (What?? No count of witchcraft?).

The article reports that in January 2009 the defendant applied for unemployment benefits and continued to collect unemployment benefits. There was just one problem: he was already collecting a paycheck from his job at a local printing company. Over the course of 70 weeks, the defendant stole $45,710 in fraudulent state unemployment claims (even the Salem witches would be impressed with this magic trick). The man continually told the unemployment officials at the Office of Labor and Workforce Development that he was in fact unemployed. Weird how you can forget about your job, right?

The defendant faces three years’ probation and was ordered to pay back all of the money he made in unemployment, totaling $45,710.

The director of the state’s Unemployment Benefits and Program Integrity department noted that ”Fraud is usually uncovered with the help of tips from the public or by cross-matching unemployment recipients’ names against information in the Department of Revenue or on new employee databases. Generally it happens faster.”

The problem with unemployment fraud, however, is not that it usually doesn’t go on for long; it’s that it goes on at all. Unemployment fraud hurts everyone. It is a blatant slap in the face to everyone who works hard to provide for his or her family, to sustain themselves, or to simply keep themselves afloat in not exactly stellar economic situation. In America, we earn our keep. While many disagree with it, we live within a capitalist system. And even if you’re a witch, you know that brews and potions don’t sell themselves.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on the article ”Salem Man Admits Fraud,” published by The Salem News on May 25 2012.

SALEM — Salem resident Alfred Hill made a pretty good living over the last year and a half, netting almost $86,000. There was just one problem: Only some of the money came from his job; the rest came from fraudulent state unemployment claims.

Hill, 27, pleaded guilty to 70 counts of unemployment fraud and a count of larceny Wednesday in Suffolk Superior Court. He was sentenced to three years’ probation and ordered to pay back the $45,710 he milked from taxpayers over the 19 months he claimed unemployment benefits while he was working.

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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.