A California woman was sentenced to prison for cashing in her dead mother’s social security checks for nearly a quarter century.
Emma Carter-Alexander, 66, of Vallejo, was sentenced to a year in prison and was ordered to pay $298,168.20 in restitution for using public money for her own use, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
“According to court documents, since the death of Carter-Alexander’s mother in 1993, Carter-Alexander has been collecting her mother’s Social Security disability benefits for her own use,” the DOJ’s website stated.
“To facilitate this fraud, Carter-Alexander filed yearly representative payee statements falsely indicating that she was using the funds for her mother’s well-being, even though her mother was deceased,” it added.
Mom died in 1993, but her daughter kept cashing her Social Security checks for 24 years https://t.co/BLG39kRZp9
— Barb Calhoun (@barbc9988) December 13, 2017
According to the Daily Republic, she used the money for things such as airline tickets, car rentals, hotel stays, car payments, purchases at jewelry stores, and more.
She had originally faced a 10-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine before she entered a plea deal in September.
“It’s a puzzling case,” U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez told her in court, according to the Sacramento Bee. “To your credit, you accepted responsibility immediately.”
Mendez added: “This is an individual who but for this crime has done a number of admirable things in her life.”
Court papers say that she’s remorseful and has no criminal history. She’s the mother of an adopted 35-year-old son and recently completed her Ph.D. to become a psychologist, the Bee reported.
“At any point, Carter-Alexander could have come clean and stopped the payments to her deceased mother,” the sentencing memo said. “Instead, Carter-Alexander sought to conceal her conversion of public funds, and by doing so was able to continue her fraud for over 20 years.”
The Social Security inspector general’s office discovered the misuse of funds in February.
“When initially contacted by Social Security employees about her mother, Carter-Alexander at first lied, stating that her mother was sick,” court papers said, according to the Bee. “Shortly thereafter, however, Carter-Alexander admitted the truth.
“Since that time, she has appeared to accept responsibility for her actions and has sought to quickly resolve the matter.”
She has to surrender to the authorities on Jan. 23.
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