KLAMATH FALLS, OR (KPTV) – A Klamath Falls man is facing federal charges for cashing more than 40 years’ worth of his dead relative’s Social Security checks, perpetrating one of the largest deceased beneficiary frauds in Social Security Administration history, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oregon.
George Doumar, 76, has been charged by complaint with theft of public funds and mail theft for allegedly cashing more than $458,000 worth of social security checks issued in the name of his deceased aunt.
According to court documents, in February 2020, the Social Security Administration identified a 114-year-old who appeared to be the second-oldest living person in the U.S. receiving Social Security retirement benefits. No updates had been made to the person’s benefit record in more than 30 years, leading SSA staff to believe that the person may be dead, according to the attorney’s office.
Records indicated that the recipient was born on Aug. 7, 1905 in New York City and had first applied for retirement benefits in August 1970. The person did not receive any payments until September 1977 after she reached her delayed retirement computation age. Records further showed that from 1977 until present day, the benefit recipient received monthly Social Security retirement checks disbursed by the U.S. Treasury and delivered by the U.S. Postal Service.
The last known update to the recipient’s SSA benefit record was in July 1989, when the recipient’s address was updated to Frontier Parcel & Fax Service on South 6th Street in Klamath Falls, a commercial mail receiving agency that accepts mail from the Postal Service on behalf of third parties.
In March this year, a U.S. Postal Inspection Service Postal Inspector obtained the most recent commercial mail receiving agency report for Frontier Parcel, which showed the names of current postal box owners. The list did not contain anyone with the first or last name of Doumar’s aunt.
On May 1, 2020, an Economic Impact Payment of $1,200 was issued to Doumar’s aunt, as authorized by the CARES Act. Two weeks later, the check was deposited at a nearby bank after being endorsed with the aunt’s purported signature.
Investigators on June 16 obtained a copy of the aunt’s death certificate, confirming that she had died on March 7, 1971 in Brooklyn, New York.
Investigators determined that Doumar had added his aunt to he and his wife’s shared checking account in 1989. His aunt’s Social Security checks were often bundled in deposits with other checks made payable to Doumar. Doumar’s account was used to pay for various living expenses including mortgage, car loan, medical, and utility payments.
Investigators interviewed Doumar last month, and when asked about his aunt, “Doumar sighed, slumped his head, and stated, ‘that’s a long story…what happened was, well she’s passed and yes, I’ve been collecting her Social Security,’” according to the attorney’s office.
If convicted, Doumar faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a $25,000 fine, and three years’ supervised release. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will also seek restitution on behalf of SSA.
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