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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Alton Woman Sentenced for Cashing Dead Mother's Social Security Checks

This morning, in federal court in East St. Louis, Mia Lynn Cousett, 33, of Alton, Illinois, was 
sentenced to three years of probation for her conviction on twelve felony counts of theft of 
government funds. The funds stolen were social security checks payable to Cousett’s mother, who 
died in April 2017.

When she pled guilty to these offenses on Feb. 7, 2020, Cousett admitted that for twelve months 
after her mother passed away, she continued to cash her mother’s social security checks and then 
used those funds for her own expenses. Cousett forged her dead mother’s signature on the backs of 
each of those checks, deposited the checks into her mother’s bank account, and then accessed those 
funds using her mother’s debit card. The total of the social security checks stolen by Cousett was 
$15,601. Cousett also admitted that she used her dead mother’s driver’s license number to conceal 
and perpetuate her thefts.

In addition to the three years of probation, the court also ordered Cousett to pay full restitution 
of $12,849.06. This figure represents the $15,601 that was stolen, less $2,751.94 that was 
recovered prior to the sentencing hearing. Cousett was also ordered to pay $1,200 in special 
assessments.

At the time of the offenses, Cousett was employed as a letter carrier for the post office in Alton, 
Illinois. As part of her plea agreement, Cousett voluntarily resigned from her position at the post 
office.

The investigation was conducted by agents from the Social Security Administration, Office of the 
Inspector General, Chicago Field Division, the United States Postal Inspection Service, Chicago  
Division,  St.  Louis  Field  Office,  and  the  Alton  Police  Department.  The  ca  e was
prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Scott A. Verseman and Luke J. Weissler.
 

Updated July 30, 2020