NEW YORK (Reuters) - A man who impersonated his dead mother as part of a real estate scam - using lipstick, manicured nails and even an oxygen tank at a meeting - was convicted of fraud on Thursday and faces up to 83 years in prison, prosecutors said.
Thomas Parkin, 51, was found guilty of 11 criminal counts, including charges of fraud, grand larceny, perjury and forgery for his scams. Along with the real estate fraud, Parkin and a partner cashed his mother’s social security checks every month for six years, stealing about $44,000.
The real estate scam centered on an apartment building in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn that Parkin’s mother, Irene Pruskin, had deeded to her son in the 1990s.
In January 2003, nine months before his mother died, Parkin was forced to sell the building at a foreclosure auction. Soon after, Parkin and another man, Mhilton Rimolo, 49, filed a fraud lawsuit against the building’s new owner -- under his dead mother’s name.
Parkin then doctored documents to make it appear that his mother was still alive, and even set up a meeting with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s real estate fraud unit to discuss the matter.
At the meeting, investigators from the fraud unit found “Parkin dressed as his 77-year-old mother, wearing a red cardigan, lipstick, manicured nails and breathing through an oxygen tank,” prosecutors said on Thursday.
Parkin is due to be sentenced on May 21. Rimolo, his partner in the fraud, previously pled guilty and was sentenced to three years in prison.
Reporting by Paul Thomasch