A Baton Rouge woman pleaded guilty to defrauding the Social Security Administration by cashing payments in the name of her deceased mother for 18 years after the checks should have been stopped.
Bertha Augustus Croom, 60, admitted that she stole $127,137 in Retirement Survivor Insurance funds in the name of her mother. The mother was entitled to the survivor payments as long as she was alive, U.S. Attorney Walt Green said Tuesday.
Croom admitted to falsely telling federal authorities on several occasions that her mother was still alive, even though the woman had died. Croom collected the payments from Social Security from March 3, 1995 to Jan. 3, 2013. The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office reported her mother died on Feb. 8, 1995.
Between 2011 and 2013, Croom also submitted verification forms to Social Security that said she lived with her mother, Green said. In addition, Croom said her mother used the payments to share living expenses.
No sentencing date has been set.