A Montgomery County, Maryland, woman will spend two years behind bars after admitting to claiming her dead mother’s benefits.
Crystal Mebane McGinty, 59, of Silver Spring, was sentenced in federal court Friday, for mail fraud and theft of government property, in connection with a scheme to obtain over $517,000 of her deceased mother’s social security and City of New York teachers’ retirement benefits.
The sentence was carried out by Robert K. Hur, United States attorney for the District of Maryland, and Special Agent in Charge Michael McGill, of the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, Philadelphia Field Division.
U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis ordered McGinty to forfeit and pay restitution in the form of a money judgment of $517,000.
“She not only defrauded the Social Security Administration, but all law-abiding citizens, and I am hopeful that this sentence will deter others who may be tempted to do the same,” Hur said in a statement.
McGinty’s mother died on June 17, 2005. McGinty, who was a practicing physician in Maryland and D.C., was listed as the informant on the death certificate.
From June 2005 to June 2018, McGinty did not inform the Social Security Administration or the Teacher’s Retirement System of her mother’s passing, and engaged in a scheme to continue collecting her mother’s benefits.
This includes posing as her dead mother and signing and submitting proof-of-life forms to the teacher’s retirement system, where she sometimes identified as her mother’s doctor
In addition, McGinty withdrew money from a joint bank account she shared with her mother, depositing the funds into her own personal account each month, a U.S. State’s Attorney’s Office news release said.
After the teacher’s retirement system stopped mailing checks to McGinty’s mother 2016, McGinty called and identified herself as her deceased mother to get the pension benefits reinstated.
McGinty used the money for mortgage and utility bills, department store purchases, renewal of her medical license, travel expenses, and private school tuition, among other things.
Her sentence carries no possibility of parole, and after her prison term, she will be on supervised release for three years.
According to the news release, McGinty’s license was suspended by the Maryland Board of Physicians on Janurary 17, 2019 and she permanently surrendered her license on April 17, 2019.