As the summer heats up, let ‘s take a step back to 2014 when Winter Storm Pax made its way across the south and east coast of the U.S., leaving hundreds of thousands of South Carolinians in the dark as snow, sleet and freezing rain fell across the area. This unusual storm caused extensive damage to farms in the northeast portion of the state and today ‘s fraudster of the day took advantage of this unfortunate weather event to collect more than $18,000 in disaster relief funds she did not deserve.
The woman at the center of this case happened to be in charge of a Farm Service Agency office in the northeastern part of South Carolina when the state was declared a disaster area. (The Farm Service Agency is a program under the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) that provides qualifying farmers with assistance when natural disasters occur.)
The woman and her husband jumped on this unfortunate weather event and filed an application for payment associated with a farm that was impacted by the storm. (There ‘s just one catch though. The man fraudulently represented he was entitled to disaster benefits, when he had no connection to the farm at all.) The application was approved, and $18,500 was diverted to satisfy the man ‘s outstanding child support debt. (That ‘s convenient. Scam the government and have them pay your outstanding debt.)
The wife filed numerous false applications and obtained more than $146,000 from the farm assistance program. The husband was convicted by jury and sentenced to 46 months in prison, while the wife received 27 months. The man is also required to pay back more than $146,000 in restitution.
Just as the storm blew through the south, leaving devastation in its wake, fraud can have the same effect if not caught early. Fortunately, the USDA Office of the Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)¬were prepared for the storm of fraud that usually follows this type of severe weather and turned up the heat on these two criminals.
Source: Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “South Carolina couple sentenced for farm assistance program fraud,” published by Southeast Farm Press on June 1, 2017.
A South Carolina couple has been sentenced to prison for defrauding the farm assistance program.
Tyrone Goodrum, 45, of Florence, South Carolina, has been sentenced to 46 months in prison and his wife, Roselyn Goodrum, has been sentenced to 27 months in prison.