80-Year-Old Texas Man Charged with Theft of $231,000 of Social Security Funds

Thursday, June 28, 2012
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HOUSTON - A Conroe area resident has been charged with one count of theft of government property in connection with Social Security benefits paid on behalf of a woman believed to be his mother, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. The indictment was returned yesterday against Kline Fisher Budd, 80, a resident of Montgomery County in the Conroe area.

According to the indictment, the SSA began to investigate the whereabouts of Willa Mae Shaughnesy in December 2010 when her date of birth, as listed on Social Security records, suggested she would have been more than 104-years-old. The state of Texas produced a death certificate for Shaughnesy, believed to be Budd’s mother, which confirmed she died in November 1984. 

Further investigation revealed that Shaughnesy’s Social Security Benefits were paid by electronic deposit directly into her bank account. The indictment indicated this was a joint account Shaughnesy held with Budd and he was the only other person authorized to sign on her account. Budd allegedly made withdrawals on this account on a monthly basis.

The indictment alleges that between December 1984 and December 2010, the SSA paid benefits monthly for Shaughnesy totaling more than $231,000.

The investigation of this case was conducted by the SSA - Office of Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorney Cedric L. Joubert is prosecuting the case.