HR Strange But True!
April 25, 2003

A Philadelphia woman has admitted that she staged her death seven years ago to cash in on her pension.

The woman, 52-year-old Charlotte J. Mears, retired from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board in 1989. Authorities said she created a phony death certificate on a home computer in 1996, sent it to the Pennsylvania State Employees' Retirement System, then forged the signatures of her mother and son on checks for the nearly $16,000 in her pension account.

She was getting away with it, prosecutors said, until she applied for Social Security benefits. When administrators with the Social Security Administration called to verify that Mears was still receiving her monthly pension checks, they were told she was dead. "They said: 'How could she be contacting us if she's dead?' " said Kevin Harley, a spokesman for Attorney General Mike Fisher.

Mears was arraigned recently on charges that included theft and forgery, and released on $25,000 bail.

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer

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