Trouble with the In-Laws

Social Security Cards for identification and retirement USA

The relationship between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law can be prickly. When they don’t get along, family relationships across the board can be affected. If the mother-in-law of today’s fraudster was still living, my guess is that their relationship would probably not be so good. If she knew that her daughter-in-law had committed Social Security fraud by collecting her benefits for around 12 years after her death, I imagine things would be a bit tense at family gatherings.

The Delaware woman apparently had a joint checking account with her mother-in-law, which leads you to believe that the daughter-in-law was a trusted family member. However, when the mother-in-law died in 2006, the now 63-year-old woman from Smyrna neglected to inform the Social Security Agency (SSA) of her death. (Meanwhile the monthly $1,100 checks continued to be deposited into the joint checking account.)

On two occasions, in 2013 and 2018, the SSA contacted the daughter-in-law, who pretended to be her mother-in-law, so the SSA benefit deposits would continue. Again, she lied to agency officials and did not tell them that the mother-in-law had died. (By doing so, she racked up more than $175,000 in Social Security benefits she did not deserve.)

Today’s fraudster from Smyrna, Delaware was sentenced to 18 months in prison for committing Social Security fraud of more than $175,000. This conviction brings the idea of trouble with the in-laws to a whole new level. (It’s probably a good thing that her mother-in-law is not around to see the fallout of her daughter-in-law’s illegal actions. Once she gets out of prison, family relationships may be difficult.)

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article, “Smyrna woman sentenced to prison for decade-long Social Security fraud,” published by Delaware State News on September 19, 2019.

WILMINGTON — A 63-year-old Smyrna woman was sentenced Thursday to 18 months in prison for defrauding the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) of more than $175,000.

According to court documents, Deborah Vaughn spent more than a decade collecting fraudulent Social Security funds intended for her deceased mother-in-law.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.