Honolulu man accused of taking dead mom’s checks


HONOLULU — A Honolulu man is accused of defrauding the state out of more than $200,000 by collecting disability payments for his mother even though she died in 2000.

A federal indictment unsealed Wednesday alleges that Steven Splater, 58, filed documents with the state Department of Labor in 2003 saying that he was acting as power of attorney for his mother, Edith Splater, who he claimed was still alive.

According to the court documents, he continued to receive his mother’s disability payments, which he deposited into an account with her name that he accessed. He allegedly continued to receive payments until 2011, for a total of $223,925.

Splater “received the disability payments that his mother was entitled to during her lifetime after her death and deposited them into an account held in her name throughout the period following her death until July 5, 2011,” the indictment said. “Throughout the period alleged in this indictment, the defendant used the money he had received by failing to report his mother’s death for his own benefit.”

FBI spokesman Tom Simon said Splater was arrested Wednesday morning in the parking lot of his Salt Lake apartment building. He’s expected to be arraigned later Wednesday. It wasn’t immediately clear if he has an attorney.

“The FBI would like to commend the State of Hawaii Department of the Attorney General for conducting the underlying investigation that led to today’s arrest,” Simon said. “Over the past few years, we have seen several cases where individuals have been accused of fraudulently receiving governmental benefits.

The FBI will work with our law enforcement partners to investigate these crimes.”

A spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a similar case, a California woman is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 13 after pleading guilty to mail fraud. According to a plea agreement, Lynsie Williams received disability payments from Hawaii for her father, even though he died in 1990. The court documents say she deposited nearly $400,000 in a joint account and forged documents when Hawaii officials wanted to verify her father was still alive.

She faces a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and restitution to the state.

 

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