Houston Woman Sent to Prison for Scheme to Cash Deceased Woman’s Benefit Checks
|March 17, 2014|
HOUSTON – Doris Hayes, 37, of Houston, has been ordered to prison for using her brother’s Social Security number to open a bank account to cash a deceased woman’s benefit checks, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Hayes pleaded guilty to two counts of making false statements involving a Social Security number on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013.
Today, U.S. District Judge David Hittner, who accepted the guilty plea, handed Hayes a sentence of 33 months in federal prison to be followed by a three-year-term of supervised release. She was further ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $177,694. Hayes, currently serving time in state prison for forgery and possession of a controlled substance, requested her federal and state sentences to run concurrently. Judge Hittner denied that request.
Hayes admitted she opened bank accounts at International Bank of Commerce and University Federal Credit Union using false Social Security numbers, including that of her brother, in order to facilitate a check cashing scheme.
A previous related indictment charged Sandra Carrier, 58, of Houston, with taking part in the scheme in which she caused her deceased mother’s treasury checks from the Department of Veterans Affairs and Social Security Administration to be cashed after her mother had passed away. Some of those checks were cashed using the same bank accounts Hayes had opened with false Social Security numbers. Carrier and Hayes continued to negotiate the checks up to eight years after Carrier’s mother’s death.
The United States suffered $177,642 in damages as a result of the scheme.
Carrier pleaded guilty to related charges and received a sentence of 12 months and one day in prison.
Hayes will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility upon completion of her state sentence.
This case is the result of a joint investigation involving multiple federal agencies including the Social Security Administration – Office of Inspector General and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Leuchtmann is prosecuting this case.