Home » Man Cashed His Dead Mother’s Social Security Checks for 26 Years, U.S. Says

Man Cashed His Dead Mother’s Social Security Checks for 26 Years, U.S. Says

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A Missouri man pleaded responsible this week to stealing his lifeless mom’s Social Safety funds for greater than 1 / 4 century, accumulating practically $200,000 within the course of, federal prosecutors mentioned.

The person, Reginald Bagley, 62, of Dellwood, Mo., pleaded responsible on Thursday to a felony cost of stealing cash belonging to the US, the Justice Department said in a news release. The crime may land him in jail for as much as 10 years and end in a high quality of as much as $250,000 when he’s sentenced in March.

Mr. Bagley informed federal prosecutors that he had by no means reported his mom’s loss of life on March 12, 1994, to the Social Safety Administration, the company mentioned.

In 1998, Mr. Bagley arrange a checking account the place his lifeless mom’s advantages had been deposited, in line with a plea settlement within the case.

In complete, from April 1, 1994, to July 31, 2020, Mr. Bagley stole $197,329 in Social Safety advantages, prosecutors mentioned.

His lawyer, Daniel A. Juengel, mentioned in an interview on Friday that Mr. Bagley “has accepted accountability for his actions.”

“He’s very remorseful and understands that he’ll need to pay restitution again for the amount of cash that was taken,” Mr. Juengel mentioned.

The case towards Mr. Bagley underscores a longstanding drawback wherein folks acquire advantages meant for his or her lifeless relations. The Social Safety Administration is chargeable for issuing about $1 trillion in profit funds yearly, that means that “even the slightest error within the total fee course of may end up in tens of millions of {dollars} in improper funds,” in line with the company’s monetary report in 2021.

The report estimated that the company had spent about $8.3 billion in improper funds in 2020; overpayments had been about $6.8 billion of that.

What made Mr. Bagley’s case notably uncommon, Mr. Juengel mentioned, was how lengthy it had taken the Social Safety Administration to research.

“The cash simply stored getting used, and stored coming in and stored getting used,” Mr. Juengel mentioned. “Then, you realize, he was in over his head. After which finally the Social Safety Administration did an investigation.”

It’s unclear when precisely the company started its investigation into Mr. Bagley.

The Social Safety Administration and its Workplace of Inspector Normal didn’t instantly reply to emails and calls in search of touch upon Friday. The U.S. legal professional’s workplace within the Jap District of Missouri additionally didn’t instantly reply to an electronic mail and a name in search of remark.

When the Social Safety Administration decided that Mr. Bagley’s mom had not been utilizing her Medicare advantages, the company despatched a letter to Mr. Bagley’s handle to attempt to contact her, prosecutors mentioned.

Shortly after the letter was despatched, the checking account was closed, and the remaining stability of $2.83 was given to Mr. Bagley in a cashier’s examine on July 24, 2020, in line with the plea settlement.

Mr. Juengel mentioned that Mr. Bagley, who’s married and has 5 youngsters and a few grandchildren, was “not a rich man.”

Mr. Bagley was a trash truck driver with a historical past of despair and anxiousness who had been attempting “to make ends meet,” Mr. Juengel mentioned.

“These are all components that contributed to the character of what was taking place,” he mentioned.

Nonetheless, Mr. Juengel emphasised that his consumer didn’t need to shirk accountability for what he had performed.

“He understands what he did,” Mr. Juengel mentioned, “and he’s remorseful.”

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