A New Yorker disguised as his dead mother allegedly claimed $115,000 benefits for six years. Disguised using a wig, nail polish and his mom's favorite dress, he pretended he was the old woman, cashed payments and collected rent subsidies on her estate.
According to New York Post, the trial of Thomas Prusik-Parkin began on Monday. On Tuesday, jurors will see a recording of Prusik-Parkin, 53, disguised as his dead mother when he went to renew her driver's license. According to CNN, on April 29, 2009, a surveillance video captured Parkin posing as his mother to renew her driver's license at a state Department of Motor Vehicles office in Brooklyn. He was wearing a blonde wig, red sweater, sunglasses and a scarf around the neck. A man was next to him pretending to be her nephew. According to Michael Vecchine, chief of the Brooklyn attorney's rackets division: "[Parkin] did a pretty good job of covering himself up so that those that didn't know what to look for wouldn't be able to see anything."
Prusik-Parkin allegedly carried out the act with the assistance of Mhilton Rimolo who pretended he was the nephew of the old woman. CNN reports that with the assistance of Rimolo, he allegedly collected $52,000 in Social Security benefits and $65,000 in city rent subsidies.
According to Daily Mail, late Irene Prusik was an actress. A Social Security investigator told the court she died in September 2003, at the age of 73. But Thomas, her son, allegedly continued collecting her monthly benefits until June 2009.
Daily Mail reports prosecutors say Prusik-Parkin gave a funeral director the wrong Social Security number and date of birth of his mother so that her death would not be registered in government database. He allegedly forged his mother's death certificate when she died, writing a false Social Security number and birth date.
Thomas Prusik-Parkin, who was already on disability benefits of his own, for six years allegedly cashed his dead mother's payments and collected rent subsidies on the $2.2 million Brooklyn apartment she left him. Investigators say he was eventually caught when in disguise, he went to complain to prosecutors about a man who bought the apartment his mother left for $660,000 in a foreclosure auction.
He was arrested in 2009 and charged with grand larceny, forgery and conspiracy linked to a deed and mortgage fraud scheme. According to the police, he told detectives when he was arrested: "I held my mother when she was dying and breathed in her last breath, so I am my mother."
According to prosecutors, he posed as his dead mother to file for bankruptcy so that he would be be eligible to collect $39,000 in city subsidies to help pay rent on an apartment.
Prusik-Parkin said an interview with New York Post that he was a fan of Norman Bates, the character from a 1960 movie "Psycho" who kills women he imagines to be his mother.
But, according to Daily Mail, the defendant's lawyer Morris Shamuil, has said there is "absolutely no proof" that his client dressed as his mother.
Prusik-Parkin faces 25 years in prison if convicted of grand larceny. According to Daily Mail, his alleged accomplice Mhilton Rimolo, 44, served less than a year in prison after pleading guilty.