Woman Dressed As Dead Mom Arrested At CU In Pension Plot
FERNDALE, Wash. – A woman suspected of pension fraud was arrested when she tried to open an account at Industrial CU in her dead mother’s name while disguised as her mother.
Loewen Craft, 59, was wearing a disguise, including a gray wig, as she arrived at a credit union here to complete paperwork for an account she opened in her dead mother’s name and Social Security number.
But sheriff’s deputies, who had been investigating her scheme, were waiting for her at the branch and arrested her on charges of first-degree identity theft, criminal impersonation and multiple counts of forgery.
Craft’s mother, Betty Becker, died in 2007, and Craft allegedly began collecting Becker’s retirement benefits after that, according to authorities. Craft was able to fraudulently obtain $145,339 from the Chevron Oil pension fund through this scheme.
Craft, who filed for bankruptcy in 2002, established a false identity for her mother prior to that woman’s death. This allowed Craft to perpetrate the scheme after her mother died, authorities said.
Chevron officials became suspicious of Craft in 2009 after checking Becker’s name with a federal registry of deceased people and finding the name listed. Craft, however, found a way around that: She allegedly donned the disguise, complete with a gray wig and makeup to make her look older, and obtained a Washington state identification card in Becker’s name.
Craft entered financial institutions in 2009 and 2010 to notarize documents while posing as her dead mother.
Credit union officials helped in the arrest of Craft by asking her to come to the branch and fill out more paperwork.