North Las Vegas Woman Pleads Guilty To Stealing Over $200,000 In Social Security Retirement Benefits

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 1, 2021
 
From the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Nevada:
 
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – A North Las Vegas woman pleaded guilty today to unlawfully collecting over $200,000 of her deceased mother’s Social Security retirement benefits. She also admitted to wrongfully taking over $20,000 of her deceased mother’s annuity payments from a life insurance company.
 
According to court documents and admissions made in court, Inez Baker Cone, 74, held a joint bank account with her mother. The Social Security Administration (SSA) directly deposited her mother’s retirement benefits into the joint account. When her mother passed away in 1995, Baker Cone did not inform the SSA that her mother had died and was accordingly no longer eligible to receive retirement benefits. Instead, nearly two years after her mother’s death, Baker Cone changed her mother’s mailing address with the SSA to her own home address.
 
Similarly, Baker Cone changed her mother’s mailing address with Transamerica Life Insurance Company to her own home address in order to wrongfully collect her mother’s annuity payment checks mailed by the company. Baker Cone deposited the checks by forging her late mother’s signature. From April 1995 to September 2020, Baker Cone unlawfully obtained approximately $200,244 of SSA retirement benefits and $22,763 of annuity payments from Transamerica Life Insurance Company.
 
Baker Cone pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government property. She is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard F. Boulware II on October 14, 2021, and she faces a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
 
Acting U.S. attorney Christopher Chiou for the District of Nevada and Inspector General Gail S. Ennis for the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General (SSA OIG) made the announcement.
 
This case was investigated by the SSA OIG. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Schmale is prosecuting the case.