What is the difference between outlaws and in-laws? Outlaws are wanted! (ba-dum-TSH) For Sandra Smith the words outlaw and in-law are interchangeable because she stole her mother-in-law’s social security benefits! Minnie Smith was a longtime Brooklyn resident who had worked for the State Insurance Fund from 1985 until her retirement in 2005. She subsequently moved to Georgia to be close to family, but passed away on September 14, 2006. And that is when Sandra became wanted!
Sandra was not only her mother-in-law’s caretaker but handled her finances as well. Which meant she had access to Minnie Smith’s bank account. Instead of notifying the New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) or the Social Security Association of Minnie’s death. Sandra sent a change of address form purportedly signed and dated by “Minnie Smith.” Prosecutors alleged that every month until early 2021, Sandra removed the funds from her dead mother-in-law’s bank account almost as soon as they were deposited. In total, Smith collected $194,351 from the SSA and $264,699.53 from the NYSCRS for a total of $459,050.53.
Minnie’s death was discovered about 15 years too late. Social Security fraud can be bountiful because no one is around to complain! Once discovered, the Social Security Administration was notified by the Comptroller’s Division of Investigations and payments were stopped. Sandra was arrested by federal investigators, she admitted she was aware that none of half a million dollars was meant for her.
Great job by the Comptroller’s Division of Investigations for acting immediately on Sandra Smith’s dishonor to her mother-in-law.
Today’s Fraud Of The Day is based on article “Woman hid mother-in-law’s death to steal $450,000 in retirement benefits, feds say” published by The Miami Herald on February 24, 2023
A Georgia woman hid her mother-in-law’s death to steal her retirement benefits, feds say. A woman “took advantage” of her mother-in-law’s death to steal more than $450,000 in retirement benefits, officials said. The woman, 49, of Morrow, Georgia, served as her mother-in-law’s caretaker and started stealing retirement benefits meant for her from the Social Security Administration and the New York State Local and Retirement System after she died in 2006, according to federal prosecutors.
She’s accused of hiding her mother-in-law’s death for over 14 years — leading both agencies to continue depositing funds in her bank account which the woman had access to after previously taking care of her financial affairs, prosecutors said.