Illinois Woman Pleads Guilty to Cashing Dead Mother's Social Security Checks

Friday, February 7, 2020
Office Affiliation: 

From the U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Illinois:

East St. Louis, Ill.— Mia Lynn Cousett, 33, of Alton, Illinois, pled guilty this morning to 12 
felony counts, each charging her with theft of government funds. The stolen funds were social 
security checks payable to Cousett’s mother, who died in April 2017.

In court, Cousett admitted that for 12 months after her mother passed away, she continued to cash 
her mother’s social security checks and used the funds for her own expenses. Cousett forged her 
dead mother’s signature on the backs of each check, deposited the checks into her mother’s bank 
account, and then accessed the money using her mother’s debit card. In total, Cousett stole 
$15,601. Cousett also admitted that she used her dead mother’s driver’s license number to conceal 
and perpetuate her crimes.

Sentencing is set for May 20, 2020, at 1:30 p.m. at the federal courthouse in East St. Louis. Each 
of the charges carries a maximum sentence of ten years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, in 
addition to restitution. As part of her plea agreement, Cousett agreed to voluntarily resign from 
her position as a letter carrier for the post office in Alton before her sentencing hearing.

The investigation was conducted by agents from the Social Security Administration, Office of the 
Inspector General, Chicago Field Division, the United States Postal Inspection Service, Chicago 
Division, St. Louis Field Office, and the Alton Police Department.       The case is being
prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Scott A. Verseman and Luke J. Weissler.