California Man Sentenced to Prison for Concealing Father's Death, Collecting His Social Security Benefits

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
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SANTA ANA – A man was convicted and sentenced today to six years in state prison for fraudulently collecting his deceased father’s Social Security and pension benefits after being identified by detectives investigating human bones found in a Santa Ana backyard. Larry Thomas Dominguez, 66, Santa Ana, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of grand theft by embezzlement, one felony count of forgery, two felony counts of identity theft, two felony counts of forging an access cardholder’s signature, and sentencing enhancements for aggravated white collar crime over $100,000 and property loss over $65,000. In addition to his prison sentence, Dominguez is ordered to pay over $97,000 in restitution.

On Jan. 27, 2013, residents in Santa Ana contacted the Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) to report finding bones in the backyard of their home. SAPD began investigating the case, as the bones appeared to be human remains. Investigators determined that Dominguez was the prior resident and subsequently contacted the defendant at his mobile home residence in Santa Ana as part of the investigation into the bones.

The investigation revealed that Dominguez’s father Wallace Benjamin Dominguez died in May 2005. The defendant then buried his father in the backyard of the Santa Ana home, where the bones were located in 2013.

Between January 2005 and January 2013, the defendant illegally stole his deceased father’s Social Security benefits. He fraudulently collected over $1,100 per month in benefits, stealing over $92,000 in all. The defendant also collected his deceased father’s pension from a Washington Mutual account, amounting to over $4,500. After his father’s death, Dominguez forged his father’s name on checks and assumed his father’s identity to open numerous credit cards.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Robert Mestman of the Special Prosecutions Unit prosecuted this case.