Feds: Man collected $300,000 in dead mom’s Social Security checks

A Connecticut man has pleaded guilty to collecting about $300,000 in Social Security payments sent to his mother, who had died and therefore wasn’t eligible for the payments.

William E. Chase, 69, of Milford waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty to one count of theft of public funds on Dec. 3 in Bridgeport federal court.

Chase faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years, a fine of up to approximately $600,000, and mandatory restitution when he is sentenced in February.

Mom died in 1988

According to court documents and statements made in court, Chase’s mother, a Social Security benefits recipient, died in November 1988.

At the time of his mother’s death, Chase was a co-signor on the checking account into which his mother’s monthly Social Security benefits were being deposited, said prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney's Office for Connecticut.

Despite the fact that Chase was identified as the informant on his mother’s death certificate in 1988, he failed to notify the Social Security Administration of her death or take any steps to stop the monthly benefit payments, federal prosecutors said.

Spent most of the money

From the time of his mother’s death in late 1988 until May 2014, $307,396 in Social Security benefits were direct deposited into the bank account controlled by Chase. He utilized more than $292,000 of the deposited benefits for his personal use and enjoyment, prosecutors said.

In May 2014, the bank returned the remaining balance of the checking account, about $14,700, to the Social Security Administration.

Chase is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in February 2015. The case is being investigated by the Social Security Administration and is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles L. Rombeau and Assistant U.S. Attorney Anastasia Enos King.