New York State Comptroller Thomas Napoli announced the arrest of a Maryland man who allegedly concealed the death of his mother from Queens so he could continue collecting her retirement and Social Security payments.
Charles Alton Bump, 62, was arraigned on Thursday, Jan. 19, in the District Court for Somerset County on three charges of felony theft.
Bump was arrested for allegedly stealing $53,320 in payments from the New York State Common Retirement Fund and the Social Security Administration (SSA) that were sent to his deceased mother, Elizabeth Dorothy Case, who was a longtime New York state employee and resident of Corona and Jamaica before she moved to Maryland to live with her son.
In 2019, a concerned neighbor reported to the SSA that Case, who was 90 at the time, had not been seen in more than a year.
After repeated attempts to contact her, the SSA requested that she appear in person in order to continue receiving her payments. When her son appeared instead, the SSA questioned him. Bump stated that his mother was out of the country, on an extended tour of Europe, and was only reachable by e-mail.
Authorities confirmed, however, that Case had no passport and had never left the country. Bump eventually admitted to officials that his mother had died. Investigators believe he disposed of her body.
“The allegations in this case are heinous and driven by greed,” DiNapoli said. “The victims here are not just the state pension fund and Social Security, but an elderly woman who was denied dignity and respect at the time of her death.”
DiNapoli thanked the SSA for their partnership in investigating the case against Bump which will now be prosecuted by the State Attorney’s Office in Somerset County, Maryland.
“Failing to report the death of an individual in order to obtain Social Security funds or other benefits is a federal crime,” SSA Office of the Inspector General Special Agent-in-Charge Michael McGill said. “We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to identify these cases, investigate perpetrators and seek prosecution to hold them accountable for their crimes.”
New Yorkers can report allegations of fraud involving taxpayer money by calling the toll-free Fraud Hotline at 1-888-672-4555.