News and Press Releases

Pittsburgh Man Made False Statements on Forms to Obtain Siblings' Life Insurance Benefits

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 22, 2013

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - A resident of Allegheny County pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of false statements, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

William R. Cook, Sr., 34, of Pittsburgh, Pa., pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge Terrence F. McVerry.

According to information presented to the court, Clarence Williams, the father of the defendant, was a Postal Service employee who had Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI). Mr. Clarence Williams designated his four children as his beneficiaries to each receive an equal share of the payout. Without the knowledge or consent of his siblings, William Cook filled out federal forms purporting to be his sister and two brothers. The forged forms directed that the payout monies all be sent to the defendant's address. Cook collected and spent the monies intended for his three siblings. When the fraud was discovered, the government paid each of the three siblings $39,102.59 thus incurring a loss in the total amount of $117,307.77.

Judge McVerry scheduled sentencing for June 28, 2013. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Nelson P. Cohen is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Office of Inspector General, conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.

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