NW Indiana woman admits to taking late father’s benefits
HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — A northwest Indiana woman has admitted that she cashed her late father’s government disability checks and pocketed the money for 10 years after his death.
Gary resident Elizabeth Harris, who’s also known as Elizabeth Harris-Liuhoulo, pleaded guilty Tuesday to mail fraud in U.S. District Court in Hammond. Prosecutors said she defrauded Social Security out of more than $192,000.
The government alleges that after Harris’ father died in September 2010, she had a duty to inform Social Security of his death but she never did. After her father died, Harris, 39, repeatedly submitted forms to Social Security claiming he was still alive, prosecutors said.
Harris stole the money while acting as representative payee for her father after he became incapable of managing his own federal disability and retirement benefits.
A federal grand jury had indicted her in July and she was preparing to stand trial next week on the mail fraud charge, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.
Harris signed an agreement last week with the U.S. Attorney’s office giving up her right to make the government prove the charge against her, in return for a more lenient sentence.