Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees


Contrary to popular belief, money doesn’t grow on trees. (However, a Virginia woman seemed to think that the government had an endless supply of free benefits to choose from despite the fact that she did not qualify for them.) Over seven months, she harvested more than $13,000 in public assistance benefits by lying on her application form.

The Department of Social Services in the county where the woman resided received an anonymous tip that she was claiming welfare benefits for a child that did not live with her. (The woman claimed that her 2-year-old son was living under her roof, when he was actually living with someone else.) As a result of incorrect information provided on her benefits application, the deceptive mother received food stamps and medical care.

During an interview at the Department of Social Services office, the woman was informed that she would be receiving a visit at her home where the child supposedly resided. (That news upset the woman. She lost her temper during the interview and left the meeting muttering profanities. That definitely did not bode well.)

Subsequently, the 29-year-old woman pleaded guilty to welfare fraud and received a five-year sentence with all but a year-and-a-half suspended. Perhaps while serving out her time in prison, she’ll have a better understanding of how things operate in the world of government benefits.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, ”Stafford woman to serve 18 months for getting more than $13,000 via welfare fraud,” published by The Free Lance-Star on August 12, 2016.

A Stafford County woman was ordered Thursday to serve a year and a half in prison for receiving more than $13,000 in public assistance benefits that she was not entitled to.

Michelle Antionette Thompson, 29, pleaded guilty to welfare fraud in Stafford Circuit Court. Judge Charles Sharp sentenced her to five years in prison with all but a year and a half suspended.

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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.