Telling a lie is never a good idea because eventually, the truth will come out one way or another. A Department of Justice press release details the story of a Washington woman who attempted to tell a few lies on the witness stand to cover up her scheme to bilk the Social Security Administration (SSA) of more than $50,000. (Telling a lie in front of a Judge is definitely not a good idea.)

The press release states that the woman hid the fact that her mother and sister, who happened to receive welfare benefits, no longer lived with her in a Seattle neighborhood. (It turns out they moved out of the country, but the welfare checks continued to be deposited into accounts the mother and sister had opened in the United States.) The daughter either used her mother’s debit card to access the government benefits or forged her signature.

It gets more interesting. During a visit by the mother and sister one year after they had moved overseas, the daughter called the SSA and claimed that her mother was living with her and paying fair market value rent. (She couldn’t give her mother a price break for being a relative?) The daughter forged her mother’s signature on benefits forms and lied to Social Security personnel when they contacted her and asked to speak with the mother. Another lie told by the daughter led government officials to believe that the mother was visiting relatives in North Carolina. (In reality, those folks had also moved out of the country seven years prior. I’m sure the daughter just got confused about the dates.)

Evidently, the lies on the witness stand were convincing enough to cause confusion among jury members. The jury was unable to return a verdict. However, the daughter ended up pleading guilty to Social Security fraud and will serve one month in prison plus three years of supervised release. She also is required to pay back $50, 973 for her illegal actions.

The press release states that the judge wanted to send an important message by giving the woman a prison sentence instead of home confinement. Let’s hope that the message received by the defendant will hit home.

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