Full Disclosure

30619689 - social security newspaper scrap on assorted money

When applying for welfare or any government benefits in general, it’s extremely important to tell the truth when filling out the application forms. If any deliberate misstatements are made or there is a failure to reveal information that would determine a person’s eligibility for welfare benefits, applicants could face fraud charges, a criminal conviction, fines, penalties, restitution and program disqualification. (You would think those would be enough to discourage fraudulent offenders.) An Idaho man found himself in a bunch of trouble with the government after failing to disclose some important personal information that would have affected his eligibility to receive welfare.

Some of the things that can put a kink in a person’s ability to legitimately receive welfare benefits include failing to report wages, incomes, assets, change in employment, marital status or child support payments. Today’s offender and his wife neglected to disclose their household income and assets.

It turns out that the man at the center of this case owned and operated a transport company in Michigan. (He and his wife knew that they would not qualify for welfare benefits if they fully disclosed their situation, so they purposely kept that information from the government.) And if that were not enough, the man had asked another person to purchase a gun for him because he knew he would not pass the background check.

The transport company owner and operator pleaded guilty to welfare fraud and making a false statement on an application during the purchase of a firearm. Because he received $63,235.51 in welfare benefits including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program dollars and Medicaid, he will have to pay back that amount in restitution. The fraudster is also required to forfeit the gun as part of his plea agreement. At sentencing, he will face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Who knows why this man felt he was entitled to receive benefits he did not deserve. While he did not fully disclose his situation, my guess is that the government will not hesitate to disclose what his punishment will be.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, ”Businessman pleads to welfare fraud, lying on firearm application,” published on MLive.com on October 19, 2016.

MUSKEGON, MI – Muskegon’s Lawrence Robert Ochs admits to welfare fraud and lying on an application for a firearm, according to documents filed in federal court Oct. 3.

Ochs agreed to plea guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States, and conspiracy to make a false statement during purchase of a firearm, according to a plea agreement signed by Ochs and his attorney, Grand Rapid’s David Dodge.

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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.