[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/17/art.crime.kcda1.jpg caption="Authorities say Thomas Parkin (L) has impersonated his mother since her death in September 2003."]
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/17/art.crime.kcda.2.jpg caption="The Kings County District Attorney says Thomas Parkin, 49, now faces charges of larceny, conspiracy, forgery and more."]
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/17/art.crime.kcda.3.jpg caption="Mhilton Rimolo, a friend of Parkin's, is charged in connection with the deception and fraud."]
The elderly woman in oversized sunglasses hunches over a desk at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Brooklyn, New York. Dressed in red and holding a pen, she fills out the required information to renew her license. A surveillance camera takes a snapshot of the seemingly routine matter.
It all appears normal.
Except for one glaring fact: the woman is a man.
And, according to investigators, that man is posing as his own dead mother in what Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes called “a multi-year campaign of fraud that was unparalleled in its scope and brazenness.”
Brazen and bizarre.
Authorities say Thomas Parkin impersonated his mother since her death in September, 2003. They believe a friend of Parkin’s, Mhilton Rimolo, was his partner in crime in a long-running scam of deception and fraud.
Parkin, 49, and 47-year-old Rimolo are charged with multiple counts of Grand Larceny, Conspiracy, Forgery, Perjury and Criminal Impersonation.
For veteran investigators, the case is as wild as they come. “It’s a nice twist, right?” said Assistant Chief Investigator George Terra. “Truth is truly stranger than fiction. You can’t make these things up.”
The indictment alleges Parkin and Rimolo spent years trying to convince city agencies and courts that Irene Prusik was very much alive. After her death in 2003, they are accused of filing lawsuits, claiming to be Prusik, against the new owner of her home which was previously sold at auction.
The lawsuits were allegedly accompanied by some creative writing.
In a media release, the District Attorney’s Office said the pair “doctored Prusik’s death certificate, providing a false Social Security Number and date of birth, which made it appears though she were still alive.”
For prosecutors, the reason behind the ruse was money.
Parkin and Rimolo allegedly collected $52,000 in Prusik’s Social Security benefits over the years. The indictment also accuses the defendants of receiving $65,000 in rental assistance from the city by claiming Prusik was the landlord of the home and that Parkin could not afford the rent because of a disability.
Authorities say Parkin didn’t just pretend to be his mom. He dressed as her. In addition to the DMV appearance, prosecutors described an encounter to remember.
According to detectives, Parkin walked into the D.A.’s Office to complain he and his mother were being victimized and coerced by the new owner of Prusik’s townhouse. Investigators, who were already suspicious of Parkin, set up a meeting in his apartment.
What happened when they arrived? The press release says the investigators were greeted by “Parkin dressed as his 77-year-old mother, wearing a red cardigan, lipstick, manicured nails and breathing through an Oxygen tank”
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