Blank Check

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Having a blank check is almost like winning the lottery. Having access to the whole checkbook of blank checks is even better. An article published by The Portland Press Herald details how a woman used her deceased mother’s checkbook to write herself a few checks amounting to tens of thousands of dollars.

The article explains that the woman’s mother was legally receiving Social Security benefits as a surviving spouse of a retiree up until the time she died. After her mother’s death, the daughter had access to her checkbook and repeatedly withdrew cash from the regular Social Security deposits. (In fact, she wrote 16 checks totaling $31,496 for more than two years.)

The 66-year-old’s ruse ended after confessing to federal agents. She pleaded guilty to theft of public money, is facing 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

It is important to remember to notify the Social Security Administration as soon as possible when a loved one dies. (Obviously, this woman failed to do so because she was greedy and will now have to pay a price for her illegal actions.) She no longer has the ability to write herself checks from her mother’s account nor steal from those who paid into the system and deserve to receive the government benefits.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Franklin Woman Pleads Guilty to Social Security Fraud,” published by The Portland Press Herald on May 21, 2015.

FRANKLIN — A Hancock County woman who continued to collect nearly $31,500 in Social Security payments in her mother’s name years after her mother died pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal charge of theft of public money.

Barbara Phillips, 66, of Franklin, appeared at a hearing in U.S. District Court in Bangor before Judge John Woodcock Jr. and waived her right to have her case presented to a grand jury.

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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.