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Woman Linked to Man's Death Indicted for Fraud

May 18, 2012

EUGENE, Ore. - A Federal grand jury returned an indictment this week charging Carel June Cody with the theft of more than $200,000.00 in Social Security retirement benefits intended for a man who had been in Cody's care. Cody, 46, of Cottage Grove, is charged with theft of government funds, aggravated identity theft, and making false statements to a federal agent for allegedly forging the man's signature on checks payable to herself and lying to a federal agent to conceal the man's death.

According to documents filed by the government, Cody was the care-giver of John Arnold when he died sometime between 1994 and 1996. Instead of alerting authorities, Cody enlisted the help of others to bury his body on private property and conceal his death. Since that time, she allegedly has been stealing Arnold's Social Security benefits. The investigation regarding the death of Mr. Arnold is being conducted by the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.

Cody and her husband Ernest Cook were arrested Thursday and lodged in the Lane County Jail. They will make their first appearances in the U. S. District Court in Eugene on Friday, May 18, 2012, at 11:30 p.m. before Magistrate Judge John Coffin. The government is seeking Cody's detention pending trial.

Cook has been charged with making false statements to a federal agent for lying to investigators when he told them that Mr. Arnold was still alive.

An indictment is only an allegation and not evidence of guilt. These defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in court.

The case is being investigated by the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, and the Roseburg Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Helen L. Cooper, as part of a partnership venture between the Social Security Administration Office of General Counsel and the United States Attorney's Office.

For additional information, the attached indictment can be found at this link.

The Detention Memo can be found at this link.

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