GREENBELT, Md. (WJZ) — A Silver Spring woman has been indicted for allegedly obtaining over half a million dollars of her dead mother’s retirement benefits since 2005.
According to an indictment that was unsealed on Friday, Crystal McGinty, 58, is being charged with mail fraud, theft of government property, and aggravated identity theft, related to a scheme to gain over $517,000 of her dead mother’s social security and retirement benefits.
According to the indictment, McGinty’s mother was a Maryland resident who had been getting retirement benefits from the Teachers’ Retirement System of the City of New York (TRSCNY) since 1972 and had been receiving Social Security Retirement Insurance Benefits (RIB) since 1989.
McGinty’s mother died of natural causes in 2005, and McGinty, a practicing physician, was listed as the informant on her mother’s death certificate.
The indictment claims that from June 2005 through June 2018, McGinty never notified the TRSCNY or the Social Security Administration of her mother’s death.
The indictment also claims that McGinty deposited TRSCNY and RIB checks meant for her mother into a bank account that McGinty maintained in her name, her mother’s name, and the name of her mother’s dead husband.
The checks had her mother’s signature, which McGinty knew was forged.
McGinty allegedly signed and submitted several proof-of-life forms to TRSCNY, including some in which she identified herself as her mother’s physician in order to continue getting her mother’s retirement benefits.
It’s also being alleged that McGinty called TRSCNY posing as her dead mother in an effort to get the pension benefits reinstated.
According to the indictment, McGinty routinely withdrew her deceased mother’s TRSCNY and SSA retirement benefits from the bank after they were deposited.
McGinty allegedly used the money to pay utility bills, mortgage fees, credit cards, and other purchases including renewing her Health Professional License and a cruise vacation.
If convicted, McGinty faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for mail fraud, 10 years for theft of government property, and a mandatory consecutive sentence of two years in prison for aggravated identity theft.