The ingenuity of some criminals is amazing. It almost makes you wonder what they could have made of themselves had they applied their efforts and abilities to legal pursuits.
Anyone who has studied Al Capone has to marvel at the number of breweries and the size of the distribution network he created to deliver his then illegal product to a customer base that obviously wasn’t too concerned about breaking the liquor laws. And that’s just part of the operation. There was the matter of staffing these breweries and delivery trucks as well as accounting for the millions he spent buying off law enforcement officers to make all this work.
We have a similar situation today with illegal drugs. But another crime that runs rampant is that of welfare fraud. Given the size of the federal and state assistance programs, the fact that fraud exists is no surprise. But the degree to which some criminals go in exploiting weakness in the system is astonishing.
Welfare queen Keashia Latriese Davis created quite a criminal operation. In the matter of just over a year she managed to collect over $250,000 in welfare benefits. How do you do such a thing?
We have some details from the court records. “Davis used physical addresses from the real estate site Zillow to apply for food stamp cards (SNAP cards) online. Once approved, those cards were mailed to her home in Little Rock, Arkansas. An agent from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General testified that a search of Davis’ apartment exposed 17 bags of stolen items that included personal information.”
Wonder why people are concerned about identity theft? There’s your reason. Here’s more of her story: “Addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers were chief among them. The haul also uncovered stolen mail that included a tax refund and a check from a utility company. Davis also kept detailed notebooks of her plan, and those notebooks were later used by authorities to piece together what she had done. The agent commented, ‘It was the most I’ve ever seen in any location.’”
Just imagine the amount of work that woman put into her criminal operations. And all those records she kept!
She thought a guilty plea might get her off the hook more easily, but the judge was in no mood to give a pass to someone who not only stole $260,000 from the government, but deprived others of benefits they deserved. “When asked how she wished to plea to the charges, Davis replied,‘Yes sir, I’m guilty,’ hoping that the guilty plea would help her case by saving the State money in court and investigation costs. However, things didn’t go according to plan when U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall Jr. told her, ‘There’s a long ways between zero and 20 years. It’s my decision.’ She will find out exactly what that decision is in September.’”
We have spent much time criticizing courts for making outrageous decisions, especially in cases that have political overtones. So it is only right that we say “well done” to U.S. District Judge Marshall for looking out for the people’s interests.
At least where Ms. Davis is headed she won’t need any SNAP food benefit cards, legal or otherwise.