Round ‘Em Up Sheriff

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22244721 - money, dollars.

Florida has had enough of fraudsters, and they are out to make an example out of every offense, regardless of how big or small the crime. Today’s fraud from the Palm Beach Post News, reports that authorities filed charges against 22 people for allegedly pilfering nearly $1 million from public assistance programs in Palm Beach County, Florida.

The article describes ”one of the biggest public assistance fraud roundups ever in Palm Beach County.’? The effort, called ”’Operation Leap Frog,”’ (Great name? they are getting ahead of the fraudsters.) is their ”third installment,” and according to the sheriff, they aren’t stopping there? ”’There will be a fourth, a fifth and a sixth installment. You can count on that.”’

Officials want to be clear that they are not taking fraud lightly, even highlighting an example of a case, which – despite involving a relatively low dollar amount – is an offensive crime, if proved true. In the case, authorities allege that one man scammed an elderly woman out of her food stamp benefits. When she said she would be ”’a little late” on her rent, he asked to use $100 of her Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card as partial payment. (Not an allowable use of the card, by the way.? Instead, he allegedly stole the whole amount, leaving her with no money for food. (These bullies aren’t just messing with the government; they are preying on the elderly. Just plain wrong!)

Authorities have arrested 15 of the 22 accused of fraud charges – the other seven are on the lam. But the sheriff and the state attorney’s office are obviously taking public assistance fraud very seriously. My guess is that these seven are feeling the heat from the sheriff’s office investigations.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, ”Authorities arrest 15, seek 7 others, in nearly $1 million public fraud sting,” written by Cynthia Roldan and published by Palm Beach Post News” on March 7, 2012.

In one of the biggest public assistance fraud roundups ever in Palm Beach County, authorities Wednesday filed charges against 22 people, alleging they ripped off nearly $1 million.

But only 15 of those charged by the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office in “Operation Leap Fraud” have been arrested. Seven, who have not been named, remained at large Wednesday.” State Attorney Michael McAuliffe and Sheriff Ric Bradshaw pledged to make more arrests. “This is our third installment on public assistance fraud,” Bradshaw said. “There will be a fourth, a fifth and a sixth installment. You can count on that.”

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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.