NYC con artist pretended to be dead mom to collect her Social Security benefits
posted at 2:17 pm on May 4, 2012 by Howard Portnoy
Channeling Norman Bates, a New York City man dressed up as his late mother so that he could continue to collect her Social Security benefits after her death.
The Associated Press reports that 51-year-old Thomas Parkin was convicted on Thursday on multiple charges that included grand larceny, forgery, and perjury. He now faces up to 83 years in prison.
Prosecutors maintain that Parkin doctored his mother’s death certificate after she died in 2003 to make it look as though she were still living. To lend an air of authenticity to the charade, he dressed up in his mother’s clothing, applied copious amounts of makeup, and had his nails manicured, and learned to walk—as she had—with the aid of a cane.
He also enlisted the aid of one Mhilton Rimolo, 44, who pretended to be a nephew taking care of his “elderly aunt.” (For his role, Rimolo has already been sentenced and served a year in prison.) A still from a surveillance video taken at the Department of Motor Vehicles shows the pair in action.
Relying on this scheme, Parkin managed to collect and live off his mother’s disability benefits and rent subsidies for six years, ultimately racking up a total of $115,000 in fraudulent payments from the government.
The Daily Mail notes that authorities were tipped off to the fraud when Parkin, dressed in full regalia, went to a city agency to complain that he had been ripped off by a man who bought his mother’s apartment for $660,000 in a foreclosure auction. Apparently, the seams in his stockings were not straight and his cover was blown.
When he was initially picked up by detectives, Parkin is said to have told them, “I held my mother when she was dying and breathed in her last breath, so I am my mother.” This suggests that maybe dressing in her clothing was more than just an expedient.
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