Man who impersonated mom stole $175K from Social Security

Cropped Photo: Ernie & Katy Newton Lawley / CC BY 2.0
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DETROIT (AP) (4/22/2019) - A man who impersonated his late mother's voice has pleaded guilty to illegally collecting $175,000 in Social Security benefits for nearly 16 years.

Frank Johnson apparently fooled the Social Security Administration with the impersonation in 2013. But he admits a similar attempt in 2017 failed and "his scheme unraveled."

Johnson's plea deal Monday said he forged his mother's signature on checks and also used a debit-style card that was regularly loaded with Social Security benefits. The government didn't know his mother had died.

Johnson could get a year or more in prison, although people convicted of Social Security fraud in southeastern Michigan rarely get locked up. He'll return to Detroit federal court on Aug. 19.

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