Missouri Man Sentenced for Aggravated Identity Theft After Withdrawing Money from Missing Wife's Account

Date: 
Thursday, January 16, 2020
Office Affiliation: 

From the U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri:

St. Louis, MO – Lawrence Warfel, 76, of Moberly, was sentenced to 24 months in prison for aggravated identity theft.  Warfel appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Henry A. Autrey who ordered him to pay restitution in the amount of $11,688.11.

According to court records, in September 2017, Lawrence Warfel’s wife, Penny, disappeared.  Prior to her disappearance, Penny had been receiving monthly Social Security benefits deposited directly into her bank account.  After Penny’s disappearance, her Social Security benefits were withdrawn at an ATM, and investigators retrieved surveillance footage showing Lawrence withdrawing money from that ATM using the debit card connected to the bank account where Penny’s Social Security benefits were being deposited.  In September 2018, Lawrence admitted he had been using Penny’s debt card in order to withdraw her Social Security benefits following her disappearance.

Warfel pled guilty in October 2019.

This case was investigated by the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office and the Social Security Administration.  Special Assistant United States Attorney Diane Klocke handled the case for the U.S. Attorney's Office.