The last six years had been one long drag for Thomas Parkin.
The 49−year−old Park Slope man was arrested this week for masquerading around as his deceased mother so he could cash in on her Social Security payments and stay in his $2.2 million brownstone, prosecutors alleged this week.
Both Parkin and an accomplice, 47−year−old Milton Rimolo, were both charged with grand larceny conspiracy, criminal impersonation and multiple counts of forgery, all because Parkin was so comfortable in his dead mother’s shoes that he began to make a few bold, bone−headed mistakes.
Prosecutors allege that the entire deception began as a ploy to keep Parkin’s house from foreclosure.
His mother, Irene Prusick, deeded the home on Sixth Avenue near 12th Street to Parkin, but the failed entrepreneur soon couldn’t make the $200,000 mortgage he took out on the home after a real estate venture he was working on went south.
The house ultimately went into foreclosure and was purchased by Samir Chopra at auction.
In 2003, Parkin’s mother died at the age of 77.
But instead of mourning his mother’s death, Parkin allegedly seized the opportunity, as well as the elderly woman’s wardrobe.
Pretending to be his mother, he filed several lawsuits against Chopra claiming that the deed he had purchased, the one with her “son’s” name on it, had been forged.
He propagated the fraud further by collecting approximately $52,000 in monthly Social Security benefits over six years for his deceased mother, as well as an additional $65,000 in rental assistance from the city’s Human Resource Agency.
Prosecutors allege that Parkin would apply for the assistance either dressed in a wig, dark glasses and his mother’s clothes, or through Rimolo, who pretended to be Prusick’s “concerned nephew.”
Parkin managed to stay in his mother’s home — scot free, mind you — as he filed law suit upon lawsuit against Chopra in Irene Prusick’s name.
“Mark Twain said truth is stranger than fiction and this is a great example of that,” Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes said when announcing Parkin and Rimolo’s indictment Wednesday. “What the investigators uncovered was shocking. These defendants ran a multi−year campaign of fraud that was unparalleled in its scope and brazenness.”
Hynes told reporters that Parkin didn’t dress up like his mother to fill some sick desire. He simply did it to perpetuate the fraud.
“He said he’s not Norman Bates,” Hynes told reporters.
If the two are convicted, each man could get 25−years in prison, Hynes predicted.
Officials said that Parkin managed to fool everyone from the outset. When his mother was buried, he gave the funeral home director a fake Social Security number and birth date on the death certificate, so no city state or federal agencies would suspect that his mother had died.
Things began to unravel a few months ago when a desperate Chopra, after six years of fighting in civil court, came to the D.A.’s office claiming that Parkin and his mother — who he believed was still alive — were committing fraud and had filed false affidavits in their lawsuits and bankruptcy filings.
An investigation was launched, but Parkin tried to stave off the probe by going to the D.A.’s new Real Estate Fraud Unit as himself this past March, claiming that he and his mother were the real victims.
Parkin foolishly agreed to have his mother meet with investigators to talk about Chopra’s alleged misdeeds.
At the meeting investigators came face to face with Parkin dressed up as his mother. Investigators said he was sporting a red cardigan, lipstick, manicured nails and breathing through an oxygen tank. He was even wearing a scarf to cover up his Adam’s apple.
Still, investigators immediately knew something was up.
©2009 Community News Group
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