The Race to Defraud

44906428 - close up of young man with arm in sling

Unfortunately, there are some disability recipients who illegally use their benefit checks to fund a lifestyle that includes questionable extracurricular activities. An article published by The Middletown Press follows the story of a woman, who collected disability benefits from an on-the-job injury and then engaged in a pretty active lifestyle, despite her debilitating injury.

The story states that the former corrections officer tore her shoulder after an altercation with an inmate. A physical evaluation determined that because of the injury, she was 30 percent disabled. (Subsequently, she was awarded disability retirement.)

However, the woman’s picture was later seen in a local paper indicating that she was a regular participant in BMX tournaments. (BMX racing involves dirt racing tracks with steep hills and sharp turns, no doubt requiring dexterity and skillful maneuvering by bike racers.) In addition to her extra-curricular bike activities, she also indulged in karate and served as a volunteer firefighter in her community. (All of these activities seem suspect in light of her shoulder injury.)

In yet another local newspaper, a picture of her holding a plaque above her head was featured, advertising that she was raising funds for a BMX competition in Australia. (If she had a shoulder injury, would she even be able to hold something above her head?) The Connecticut State Comptroller promptly cut off her disability benefits. (An audit later determined that she had received an overpayment of $163,849.50.)

When interviewed by investigators, the woman explained that she performed administrative duties for her local volunteer fire department. However, her supervisor stated that she was required to carry heavy ladders and other equipment as part of her volunteer position. (And by the way, there were no administrative positions at the fire department.)

The 44-year-old woman pleaded guilty to second-degree larceny. She was sentenced to four years of probation plus monthly restitution payments of $100. (That amounts to $4,800 over four years. What about the other $159,049.50?)

This woman was not only racing to win a BMX competition, she was also racing to defraud. Except in this case, she never crossed the finish line – earning the title as a loser.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Middlefield Woman Convicted for $164,000 Disability Fraud,” written by Brian Zahn and published by The Middletown Press on April 28, 2015.

MIDDLETOWN – A former correction officer awarded disability retirement in 2000 following a shoulder injury was sentenced for first-degree larceny Tuesday after it was discovered in 2009 that she was riding motorbikes, practicing karate and serving as a volunteer firefighter.

Gina Layman, 44, of Middlefield pleaded guilty to the felony charge on Dec. 12, 2014, to a second-degree forgery charge. She was injured on July 2, 1996, after an altercation with an inmate at a New Haven Correctional Facility tore her shoulder, and an evaluation determined she was 30 percent permanently disabled in the shoulder.

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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.