Former Employee of Social Security Administration Sentenced to 21 Months in Federal Prison for Cashing Her Deceased Mother's Social Security Checks
CHICAGO —A former employee of the Social Security Administration has been sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for cashing her deceased mother’s Social Security checks for nearly 30 years after her death.
GEORGIA THOMPSON, 68, of Chicago, received $419,644 in fraudulent benefits from 1986 to 2014. Thompson’s mother died on Aug. 3, 1986, but Thompson failed to notify the Social Security Administration, even though Thompson herself was employed by the agency.
Thompson pleaded guilty in June to one count of theft of government funds. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Andrea R. Wood imposed a sentence of 21 months in federal prison. Judge Wood also ordered Thompson to pay $419,644 in restitution.
For the first 21 years after the death of Thompson’s mother, the U.S. Treasury mailed checks to a Post Office Box in Chicago that was controlled by Thompson. Thompson converted the funds to her own use by forging her mother’s signature on the checks.
In approximately October 2007, Thompson used her deceased mother’s personal identifying information to instruct the Social Security Administration to directly deposit the funds into a bank account controlled by Thompson. The U.S. Treasury complied with the instruction and continued to pay the Social Security benefits. It also sent Thompson a one-time stimulus payment of $250 in May 2009.
The Social Security Administration discovered the fraud in 2014 after noticing that Thompson’s deceased mother had not used her Medicare benefits in several years.
The sentence was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Tracey Thanos, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General.
The government was represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared C. Jodrey.