Living a Life of Luxury
You would be hard pressed to find a fraudster who was not interested in living a life of luxury. This selfish desire motivates many a criminal to commit crimes to finance their expensive tastes. The Washington Free Beacon reports on an Oregon man, who bragged about his lifestyle one too many times and was caught for collecting thousands of dollars in government benefits for his family, who did not live in the United States.
The article states that the unemployed man reportedly wore lots of jewelry and liked to show pictures of trips he took to Lebanon to the workers at a local pharmacy where he picked up prescriptions for family members. It turns out that over a 10-year period, the man had been participating in a scheme that involved four family members who had received disability, Medicaid and food stamp benefits, even though they lived in Lebanon for long periods of time. (This would obviously disqualify them from receiving government benefits during those times.)
An investigation ensued after the man requested more benefits from the Department of Homeland Security for home care services for his mother. (I’m guessing Mom really didn’t need any home care services. Greedy criminals will try anything to get more money.) Several state and federal agencies got involved in the case and over a four-year time period, investigators discovered that the family had received more than $220,000 of government benefits. (That would provide for a pretty nice lifestyle in Lebanon.) During a raid of the fraudster’s home, agents found a Mercedes in the garage and a tanning bed.
According to court records, the boastful fraudster pleaded guilty to Social Security fraud for collecting more than $8,000 in benefits that were intended for his disabled sister. (She was ineligible to receive these benefits because she lived outside of the U.S. for over a year.) The man also withdrew Supplemental Security Income payments for his parents who were living abroad as well. The sister pleaded guilty to Social Security Fraud (smart move), while the parents decided to flee the country.
The Oregon man was ordered to pay nearly $221,000 in restitution to the Social Security Administration for his criminal acts. (He’ll probably have to sell that Mercedes and a few items from his jewelry collection.) It’s a given that his prison sentence will not be a luxurious experience and let’s hope that he’ll soon learn how to live within his means.
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