Fraud is Depressing

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social security card and money concept

If left untreated, depression can have some serious consequences such as poor job or school performance, self-injury, or even suicide. Today, we look at a St. Louis, Missouri woman who purportedly used depression as an excuse to receive Social Security disability benefits. She’s now facing a possible Social Security fraud conviction for lying to the Social Security Administration (SSA) about her situation.

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” article reports that the woman from Florissant, Missouri submitted an application in 2012 to the SSA requesting disability payments because her depression prevented her from working. The SSA approved her request and began disbursing disability benefits. Around two years later, the woman launched a home healthcare business and earned more than $100,000 per year over the next four years. (I imagine that exciting news helped her depression turn into elation.)

Keep in mind that the woman at the center of today’s fraud case did not alert the SSA that she was gainfully employed and making a substantial living by running her own business. In fact, on two occasions she reportedly made two false statements to the SSA claiming she had not worked or received any income since the end of 2016. She actually sold her business in July 2017. Then she bought a luxury vehicle. (She provided false financial information to the local dealership, stating that she still owned and was receiving income from the home healthcare business. This lie apparently allowed her to receive a car loan.)

Suffice to say, the 41-year-old woman from Florissant, Missouri is now in a heap of trouble with the SSA for allegedly committing Social Security fraud by making false statements about being disabled. The woman, who has surrendered to the U.S. Marshals, has also been indicted on two counts of wire fraud and two counts of making false statements about her supposed disability.

It’s important to remember that the indictment is merely an accusation and does not constitute proof of guilt. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until she is proven guilty. With that in mind, if convicted of Social Security disability fraud, she could be sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison,  a $250,000 fine, and restitution to the victims. (Reading about people who think they can defraud government benefits programs that help vulnerable citizens is quite depressing.)

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article, “Florissant woman accused of lying about disability to receive social security payments,” posted on KMOV.com on June 10, 2019.

LOUIS (KMOV.com) – A Florissant woman is accused of lying about a disability to receive social security payments.

Tayon Hutchins Fowler, 41, was indicted last week on two counts of wire fraud and two counts of making false statements about being disabled to the Social Security Administration.

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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.