HAMMOND — A Lake County woman is being accused of cashing her dead father’s Social Security checks for the last 10 years.
A federal grand jury has indicted Elizabeth Harris, also know as Elizabeth Harris-Liuhoulo, on a felony count alleging she defrauded the Social Security Administration out of $192,659.
The U.S. attorney’s office alleges the 39-year-old Gary woman stole the money while acting as representative payee for her father, Nathaniel Howard, after he became incapable of managing his own federal disability and retirement benefits.
The government alleges her father died Sept. 23, 2010, and she had a duty to inform Social Security of his death but never did.
Instead, she repeatedly submitted forms to Social Security claiming her father was still alive.
The government alleges she concealed his death so she could continue collecting and spending Social Security checks made out to “Elizabeth Harris for Nathaniel Howard” as well as direct deposits, in his name, to which she was not entitled.
She faces a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment, if convicted of Social Security fraud.
The court kept Harris' indictment under seal from public view until her initial hearing Wednesday before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Joshua P. Kolar.
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