Getting busted for dressing up as your deceased mom so you can collect her checks can be a real drag.
Thomas Parkin was in need of immediate cash flow so he started dressing up as his dead mother in order to collect her Social Security benefits, according to Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes, who announced the arrest this morning. The scam worked so well he did it for six years.
Sporting a wig, sunglasses, nail polish and old-fashioned garb, Parkin managed to collect more than $100,000 in Social Security benefits and rent subsidies.
But he didn't act alone. The makeup-laden schemer crafted a detailed façade, using a cane, fake ID and even inventing a fake nephew, played by alleged accomplice Mhilton Rimolo, to help convince government agencies to shell out the dough.
Cops busted the 49-year-old yesterday and charged him with grand larceny, forgery and conspiracy, perjury and criminal impersonation in connection with the plot. Rimolo was also charged in the ruse.
Here's where it gets really creepy. Parkin impersonated his deceased mother for so long that he appears to believe he actually assumed her identity.
"I held my mother when she was dying and breathed in her last breath, so I am my mother," Parkin told cops when he was arrested.
Norman Bates would get along well with this guy.
The scheming son launched his plan right after his mom, Irene Prusik, died in 2003. She was 73.
How'd Thomas keep his mother's death off the books? He allegedly proffered the wrong date of birth and Social Security number to the funeral home that handled her burial. Then he started raking in $700 each month in Social Security checks on top of the disability benefits he was already banking in his own name.
The fraud didn't stop there. Parkin also donned his Irene costume to file for bankruptcy so "she" could get nearly $40,000 in subsidies to help pay for an apartment in Park Slope. His co-conspirator, Rimolo, helped the aging auntie get around the city and process transactions, even renewing her driver's license at the end of April. The surveillance photo (above) shows the two defendants at the DMV.
Brooklyn detectives discovered the plot while they were investigating the brownstone building where Parkin lives, which is at the middle of a large mortgage fraud. In the 1990s, Irene deeded her Park Slope home to her son, Thomas. Thomas wasn't able to keep it up, however, and the building was sold at a foreclosure action in 2003. After Prusik died, Parkin and Rimolo began filing lawsuits against the new owner in Irene's name, alleging real estate fraud. They claimed the deed that was bought at the auction was invalid and had been forged by Parkin in the 1990s. The real owner, they claimed, was Irene Pusik. Parkin walked into the Brooklyn DA's office in March to report that he and his mother were victims of real estate fraud.
Cops went to interview Irene last month, and they found an older woman wearing a red cardigan, lipstick, manicured nails and breathing through an oxygen tank. The "woman" complied with all their requests and responded to their questions. When cops wanted to probe Irene's son, Thomas, her "nephew" Rimolo said he wasn't home.
Parkin and Rimolo got slammed with a 47-count indictment this afternoon.