Social Security for Two

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46466081 - back pain.

It’s easy to get things in ”twos” – a table for two, a bottle of wine for two and even fraud for two. While it’s probably better to share a bottle of wine, after a short wait for a table for two, one couple chose to share something a little more personal: a Social Security number (SSN). According to an article on Myrtle Beach Online, the couple’s inclination to share will likely result in a double sentence.

So, here’s what happened? a South Carolina woman let her husband use her SSN for work, so he continued to collect workers’ compensation benefits. (They won’t find out if you keep it a secret between you two!) Court documents indicate that in July 1992, the husband began receiving Social Security disability benefits for a back injury, as well as Ohio workers compensation benefits. So where did things go wrong?

A 2011 Social Security Administration (SSA) investigation determined that the man – who had been receiving benefits since 1992 for his back injury – had worked many jobs since 2001, and was compensated for those jobs while receiving aid. (Why don’t people get it? When you claim you can’t work and file for benefits, you have to disclose any new income. And yes, you probably won’t qualify for the benefits if you are working – especially if you are getting the benefits because you say you can’t work.) The investigator discovered the man had been using his wife’s SSN for all of his employers so he could collect payment without the SSA noticing. (How did that work out?) The couple received $155,618 from the SSA and $143,202 from Ohio Workers’ Compensation since 1992. The couple faces up to 10 years max in prison and a $250,000 fine.

This is a case where good things don’t come in twos – unless you count catching two fraudsters for the price of one. Two high fives to the SSA for its hard work in bringing down double the trouble.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Conway Couple Plead Guilty to Disability, Workers Compensation Fraud,” written by Tonya Root and published by the Myrtle Beach Online on July 16, 2013.

MYRTLE BEACH — A Conway couple pleaded guilty in federal court to theft of government funds, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Joseph Phillip Curto, 59, and Catherine Curto, 53, both of Conway, to theft of government funds and U.S. District Judge R. Bryan Harwell accepted the pleas but will sentence the couple after he has reviewed a presentence report which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office, according to the 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.