Richard Cornelius Cnossen, 41, admitted that he continued to receive his mother’s Social Security benefits three years after she passed away. Carole Ann Lowing died of cancer in 2004, and her son obtained $55,000 in her disability benefits.
Cnossen testified in front of a Grand Rapids judge that he continued to collect the checks and used the fund for personal use.
Carole Ann Lowing had seven children and entrusted Cnossen to take care of her as she battled cancer. Cnossen’s sister, Diane Dyer, was disappointed in her brother’s decision to mislead the Social Security Administration.
Cnossen intentionally failed to notify the agency of his mother’s death. The funds came electronically, via a direct deposit, to a bank account shared by Lowing and Cnossen. He faces up to 10 years in prison for wire fraud. He has no prior criminal record and remains free pending sentencing.
Dealing with the death of a loved one is emotionally difficult. However, disclosing the death is a legal requirement and the Social Security Administration requires proper documentation. In cases such as this, it is illegal to continue to collect Social Security benefits of a deceased individual. There are legal ways to qualify for survivor benefits for those individuals who meet the requirements.