Junk Yard Fraud

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Fraudsters hide their criminal acts behind all kinds of fronts. An article in The Advertiser tells of a Louisiana man who used his scrap metal business to profit off of an insurance fraud scheme involving staged automobile accidents. At the same time, he also was falsely claiming disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

The story states that evidence presented at the man’s trial in 2013 showed that he had been receiving Social Security benefits since 1984 – approximately 29 years. While meeting with SSA staff regarding his benefit eligibility in 2011, he claimed he had not worked since 2000. However, while standing before the judge, he admitted that he had been self-employed since 2000 at his business that buys and crushes cars for scrap.

Further research reveals that the man was also involved in a vehicle insurance fraud scheme. The fraudster was convicted along with two other men for participating in a scheme that staged vehicle accidents. As a result, insurance companies were bilked of nearly $200,000 in false claims for property damage and personal injury. (I wonder who got to haul the wrecks away.)

The junk yard owner was sentenced to two years in prison and three years of supervised release for lying to Social Security employees. His deception allowed him to collect more than $350,000 in disability benefits. The 53-year-old was ordered to pay $352,937 in restitution. He also was sentenced to one year in prison plus three years of supervised release for his part in the automobile insurance fraud scheme.

This case proves that criminals will do just about anything to get away with money that they do not deserve. (Even though this junk yard man tried to hide his criminal acts behind a heap of metal, it looks like the evidence against him was crushing.) Kudos to the legal system for wrecking this man’s deceptive plan.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Disability Fraud Nets New Iberia Man 24-month Sentence,” published in The Advertiser on December 15, 2014.

Buddy Estelle, 53, of New Iberia, was sentenced today to 24 months in prison for lying to Social Security employees which led him to fraudulently receiving $352,937 in benefits.

According to evidence presented at his Sept. 12, 2013, guilty plea, Estelle started receiving Social Security Administration disability payments in 1984, U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley said in a news release.

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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.