Criminal Justice

Man Allegedly Impersonated Dead Mom in Unusual Grand Larceny Case


In a case unusual both for its facts and its application of criminal law, a New York man was indicted today on 47 counts for allegedly impersonating his dead mother to collect some $115,000 in benefits.

“Mark Twain said truth is stranger than fiction and this is a great example of that,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes as he announced the charges against Thomas Prusik-Parkin, 49, and a claimed accomplice. Prusik-Parkin, however, told authorities he’s not Norman Bates, reports the New York Daily News, referring to the infamous character played by Anthony Perkins in Alfred Hitchcock’s famous Psycho movie.

The newspaper provides a photo of the defendant, dressed in drag, as he allegedly impersonates Irene Prusik, who died in 2003 at age 73. Prusik-Parkin is accused of immediately setting the stage for the impersonation scheme by providing the funeral director with the wrong Social Security number and date of birth for his mom, to prevent her death from being noted in government databases.

Subsequently, he allegedly collected her social security checks, took out a mortgage using his mother’s identity and filed for bankruptcy in her name to obtain city subsidies to help pay rent. At one point, authorities say, he renewed her driver’s license, wearing a wig and a dress, and was captured on surveillance footage, according to the Daily News and the Associated Press.

Prusik-Parkin has pleaded not guilty to charges including grand larceny, forgery and conspiracy. He is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.

The case, which may be unique in New York grand larceny annals, illustrates the broad array of fact-patterns to which the charge can be applied, notes the New York Criminal Lawyer Blog.

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