Monthly Archives: May 2014

Malingering for Federal and State Benefits

Thanks to everyone who commented on the last blog post concerning surveillance and disability fraud investigations. Due to the comments we posted (and those we didn’t), we are writing this post about the concept of Malingering. What is it, and why would someone do it?

According to Medscape, malingering in the DSM-V is described as “”The essential feature of Malingering is the intentional production of false or grossly exaggerated physical or psychological symptoms, motivated by external incentives such as avoiding military duty, avoiding work, obtaining financial compensation, evading criminal prosecution, or obtaining drugs.” That’s a mouthful! Let’s look at a few cases involving the financial compensation part.

Larry Benson’s Fraud of the Day site recently wrote about a guy who was “mooching” by claiming to have an injury that didn’t prevent him from playing basketball and working out at the gym (good old surveillance at work). That guy got almost 9 years time for his fraud.

The military handles malingering under Article 115. You can find it by clicking HERE. It is a punishable offense. THIS retired Air Force captain suggests that the VA could possibly have fewer cases of malingering on their hands if they got corroboration from civilians who know what is really going on with the people they live and interact with (a form of surveillance and intel). Another story of a guy malingering and lying about injuries to obtain benefits (and being reported by others) can be found HERE. He faces a maximum of 15 years and a $250,000 fine.

It’s not just limited to physical injuries, unfortunately. The numbers of people getting diagnosed with PTSD has swelled through the past several years. And so have the numbers of people that actually have “Pseudo-PTSD”. Without a doubt, true sufferers of PTSD deserve all of the help, medical and financial, that our Country can give to them. Their symptoms also are COMPLEX. People who actually have Pseudo-PTSD, and are malingerers, take away the ability to do justice to the true sufferers. Many articles can be found on this but journal articles are respected more and one can be read by clicking HERE . A fantastic writeup done by an attorney on how to combat someone’s claim of PTSD (which includes surveillance and digging into the past of the claimant) can be found HERE.

Perhaps the Veteran’s Benefit Administration AND the Social Security Administration could financially benefit from using some of these resources in order to combat such fraud. Perhaps they already are!  Your Country thanks you for your help in detecting it.

NOTE: it’s been one year since this blog started. We almost made it to 75,000 page hits! Many thanks for spreading the word, and we look forward to doubling the numbers in year 2. There is a lot left still to write about.

Using Surveillance to Catch Disability Fraud

Fraudulent claims for disability have been a problem for the Social Security Administration for years.  The ways that fraud investigators find the fraudster range from simply putting two and two together with documents, to relying on anonymous tips via their fraud hotline. In between, investigators often root out the fraudster from simply watching them.  It happens more and more these days.

THIS guy was receiving more than $6000 per month for his “disability”, but meanwhile was seen playing basketball, doing yardwork, and washing his boat that the author says was probably purchased using his disability payments.  He was getting money from SSA and Veteran’s Affairs.

THIS woman was caught committing worker’s comp fraud by using video surveillance.  One minute, she needed a cane and a brace, and the next she could function just fine without it.

The Social Security Administration has a Cooperative Disability Investigations Program that routinely employs the use of video surveillance in order to catch fraudsters.  A few of their cases can be read about by clicking HERE.  More can be found on video surveillance by clicking HERE.  An attorney did a nice writeup about the ways that surveillance is conducted.  It includes interviewing 3rd parties and reviewing information found on social media.

THIS story reports on the retired officers and firefighters who were charged with making fraudulent PTSD claims for disability to the Social Security Administration.  There were more than 100 of them. On their paperwork, apparently they kept writing that “I’m unable to perform any type of work activity in or out of the house”.  But they were found to be jet skiing, piloting planes and doing work.  If you write that you can’t do things, than don’t be seen or heard doing those things.  Period.

You should especially not be out in very public venues doing any of the things that you attested to not being able to do.  Being on The Price is Right, grabbing the big wheel when you are getting disability pay for a shoulder injury, is a no-no. Going zip-lining while on vacation with your partner, is another.  I’d like to know how they found out what Cathy Cashwell was doing while on vacation! (ooh, it’s probably by first checking bank and credit card statements and getting it confirmed from pictures!) It’s called malingering (faking an illness for personal gain).  The Form 3368 for a malingerer, makes for interesting and entertaining reading indeed!  A note to fraudsters: if the doctor you listed in Section 8 is someone who is known to certify for bogus claims, you may want to turn yourself in before you are caught. And shame on you for listing and wasting good meds that could be used for someone who really intends to take them.

How can you get away with disability fraud?  Here’s advice from the investigator written about in the story above: ““The best way and only way of beating the system is completely staying in your house, not leaving for three to five years.” Cathy, I bet you don’t have that smile you had on the Price is Right video now!