Burlington County, New Jersey, Man Admits Collecting Dead Mother's Monthly Benefit Checks
CAMDEN, N.J. – A Burlington County, New Jersey, man today admitted converting to his own use Retirement Savings benefits and Veterans Affairs Dependency and Indemnity Compensation payments that were wrongfully paid to his deceased mother, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Irvin Cooper, 65, of Delran, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman in Camden federal court to an information charging him with one count of theft of government funds.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Cooper admitted that when his mother died in December 2006 he intentionally did not notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) as he was obligated to do. This allowed him to continue to receive his mother’s SSA survivor benefit checks and the VA’s Dependency and Indemnity Compensation checks. The SSA and VA discovered the death in April of 2014.
After his mother had died, the SSA and the VA continued to deposit the checks electronically into a PNC Bank account in his mother’s name. Cooper acknowledged he accessed that account at various times and used the money to pay for personal expenses. He admitted that from December 2009 to April 2014, he collected $98,454 to which he was not entitled.
The charge to Cooper pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for March 26, 2015.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Ryan; and the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey G. Hughes, for the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason M. Richardson of the U.S. Attorney=s Office Criminal Division in Camden.
Defense counsel: James K. Grace Esq., Mount Holly, N.J.