BROOKLYN, NY -- It’s a real-life Norman Bates story: Mother dies, but she lives on through son, this time named Thomas Parkin, in drag—lipstick, a cardigan, an oxygen mask and a wig—as he impersonates her to receive her Social Security benefits for six years, totaling $44,000.
Thomas Parkin, a 51-year-old man who lived on Sixth Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn with his mother and brother, was sentenced on Monday in Brooklyn Supreme Court to 13 and two-thirds years, with a maximum of 41 years, on 11 counts of grand larceny, forgery and perjury.
He was found guilty during a jury trial on May 3, and was convicted of the below charges:
- Two counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree
- One count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree
- One count of Residential Mortgage Fraud in the Second Degree
- Four counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree
- One count each of Forgery in the Second Degree, Perjury in the First Degree and Perjury in the Second Degree
During his sentencing, Justice Vincent Del Giudice said Parkin’s actions were beyond belief.
“It boggles the mind that you would continue this plan of deceit,” Judge Del Giudice said before he gave the sentence.
He said that Parkin had the “audacity” to dress up as his mother to try and “pervert the judicial process by lying.”
For six years after his mother’s death, Parkin dressed up as her and committed real estate and social security fraud.
Parkin’s mother, Irene Prusik, deeded her home near 12th Street in Park Slope to Parkin in the 1990s. But, Parkin was not able to maintain ownership, and in January 2003, the building was sold at a foreclosure auction.
After Prusik died in September 2003, Parkin and his co-defendant, Mhilton Rimolo, 49, filed lawsuits against the new owner, Samir Chopra, in his mother’s name, alleging real estate fraud. The duo claimed that the auction was invalid and that the real owner was Irene Prusik.
In the meantime, the defendants kept receiving Parkin’s mother’s social security benefits every month for six years, totaling approximately $44,000.
But, in order to get the benefits, Parkin had to change his mother’s death certificate with a false Social Security number and date of birth in order to make it look as if Prusik were still alive.
Parkin also had to dress up as his mother to renew her driver’s license at the Department of Motor Vehicles. To see a picture of Parkin as “mother,” click here.
In March 2009, Parkin went to the District Attorney’s office to report to the Real Estate Fraud Unit that he and his mother were victims and in fact the rightful owners of their home on Sixth Avenue. He alleged that the new owner had used coercion and false documents to steal the deed.
Parkin told the investigators, who were already investigating him on Social Security fraud, to come by the house to meet Prusik. When the investigators came in, they found him dressed as his 77-year-old mother, wearing a red cardigan, lipstick, manicured nails and breathing through and oxygen tank.
“It’s amazing, it borders on ludicrous that you expected to get away with this,” Del Giudice said.
The judge said that he must “send a message” for other people thinking about committing similar crimes as Parkin and also to deter Parkin from ever doing something like this again.
After the sentencing, Parkin’s brother Richard, was not happy.
“It’s how I feel about my mother and the truth is still not out there,” Richard Parkin, 48, said outside of the Supreme Court building on Jay Street, explaining that he thinks there is more to the story. “I cannot put it in to words.
“But, it’s common sense, he forged everything and robbed property from my mother,” Parkin said. “So he was going to jail no matter what.”