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Woman Poses as Dead Mom for Pension Benefits

By Jason Beahm on March 08, 2011 9:10 AM

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

That's the only excuse one can think of for dressing up as your dead mom and going to the bank to open an account to commit pension fraud.

Loewen B. Craft, 59, is accused of doing just that, while wearing a gray wig and makeup intended to make her look older. The Washington woman allegedly attempted the fraud at a credit union branch in Ferndale, Wash, said Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo.

Craft has now been charged with first-degree identity theft, criminal impersonation and multiple counts of forgery, the Associated Press reports. Police say that Craft fraudulently collected $145,000 in pension benefits from from Chevron Oil under the name of Betty Becker, who died in 2007.

"She would wear large glasses to impersonate my grandmother. She would even wear makeup on her face to wear liver spots to look old and look like my grandmother," said Betty's granddaughter Arielle Stanwyck, KOMO reports.

Although pension fraud is never wise, it's nevertheless interesting to hear about how the scheme was orchestrated. Apparently when Craft's mom needed to go to the hospital four years ago, she checked her in under a fake name. After her mom died at the hospital, Craft kept collecting pension checks under the name of her dead mom, which is a novel retirement plan. Ultimately, Craft was set up as part of a sting operation, after an earlier visit caused suspicion, the National Ledger reports.

Perhaps she should have reinvested some of that pension money in a professional costume artist. Or she could have opted not to allegedly impersonate her dead mom, that's always another option.

If you think someone has stolen your identity, FindLaw has some great tips on detecting and resolving the situation.

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