Man who impersonated dead mom sentenced for fraud

Reuters News
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Posted: May 30, 2012 9:55 AM
Man who impersonated dead mom sentenced for fraud

By Chris Francescani

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York man who went to elaborate lengths to impersonate his dead mother as part of a real estate scam was sentenced on Monday to a minimum of 13 years and eight months in prison, prosecutors said.

Thomas Parkin, 51, of Brooklyn, donned a red cardigan, wore lipstick and breathed through an oxygen tank to convince investigators that he was his late mother, Irene Pruskin, who died in 2003 at 77.

Parkin and a partner also cashed his mother's Social Security checks every month for six years, stealing about $44,000.

Parkin was convicted this month of fraud, grand larceny, forgery and perjury.

He was sentenced to a prison term running from a minimum of 13 years and eight months to a maximum of 41 years, the Brooklyn district attorney's office said in a statement.

The real estate scam centered on an apartment building in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn that Pruskin had deeded to her son in the 1990s.

In January 2003, nine months before his mother died, Parkin sold the building at a foreclosure auction. Parkin and another man, Mhilton Rimolo, 49, later filed a fraud lawsuit against the building's new owner in his dead mother's name.

Parkin then doctored documents and went to the Department of Motor Vehicles dressed as his late mother. While there, he renewed her driver's license, a move that was caught on surveillance video, according to prosecutors.

He later contacted investigators from Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes' real estate fraud office. Parkin invited them to the mother's home, telling them he would not be there, but that she would.

Investigators found Parkin in a cardigan sweater, with red lipstick, manicured nails, and breathing through an oxygen tank.

"He fooled no one," a spokesman for Hynes said.

(Reporting by Chris Francescani; Editing by Jan Paschal)