The Mechanics of Fraud

26082954 - social security card, money and stock market numbers

Social Security disability fraud costs taxpayers billions of dollars per year. One of the most common ways scammers steal from the government program is by hiding the fact they are working while collecting undeserved benefits. (Otherwise known as double-dipping.) A Northfield, New Hampshire mechanic chose this popular method of defrauding the Social Security Administration (SSA) but got caught when investigators started looking under the hood of his disability claim.

To receive Social Security disability insurance benefits, a qualifying individual must have a medical disability that prevents them from being gainfully employed. Today’s fraudster claimed to be unable to work since the beginning of 2011. He applied for Social Security disability insurance benefits in May 2012. (That begs the question that if he couldn’t work during that time, how did he survive without a paycheck?)

Ironically, while claiming to be unable to make an honest living, the dishonest man from New Hampshire was working as a mechanic while applying for Social Security disability insurance benefits. (He tried to stuff the truth in his trunk, hoping investigators would not look there.)

By October 2013, the mechanic secured approval to receive government benefits. Even though the New Hampshire man knew he was required to report if he was working, he chose to be deceptive knowing that his benefits would be cancelled if the SSA discovered he was submitting false information on purpose. (He lied his way through receiving disability benefits for approximately three-and-a-half years.)

When individuals such as today’s fraudster start lying, they have to continue doing it to keep their scam running smoothly. The mechanic’s well-tuned fraud engine backfired when he lied during a 2016 in-person work activity review. He also admitted to an investigator from the Office of Inspector General that he had worked since 2008. Then, he ran out of gas during a 2017 audit by the Department of Motor Vehicle inspections. The mechanic told State Police he worked an average of 47 hours per week as a mechanic and a state vehicle inspector. (This was when the engine light came on.)

The 50-year-old man from Northfield, New Hampshire pleaded guilty to Social Security disability fraud. (Sentencing has been scheduled for the deceptive man who turned out to be a lemon.)

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Northfield man pleads guilty to making false statements to obtain benefits,” published by New Hampshire Union Leader on November 13, 2018.

Robert Gallagher Sr., 50, will be sentenced Feb. 21, said U.S. Attorney Scott W. Murray on Monday.

Gallagher managed and worked as a mechanic while also applying for benefits, prosecutors said.

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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.