A Ferndale woman who allegedly posed as her dead mother to fraudulently collect pension benefits also bilked the state government of $217,000 in social services benefits, according to new charges filed against her.
Loewen B. Craft, 59, was charged in Whatcom County Superior Court last week with two additional counts of first-degree theft and one count of first-degree perjury.
Craft was already facing theft and identity theft charges, as well as 11 counts of forgery. She remains jailed in lieu of $25,000 bail; her trial date is set for May 9.
Craft was arrested at a bank in Ferndale on March 2 while allegedly masquerading as her mother, Betty Becker, who died in 2007.
After Becker died, Craft obtained a false identity for her mother and used that to cash Becker's retirement benefit checks, which netted her $145,000, according to charging documents filed in Superior Court.
At the same time, Craft received services and benefits from the state Department of Social and Health Services and the U.S. Social Security Administration by claiming that she did not have any income.
Prosecutors allege that she did have an income - her mother's $3,000-per-month retirement benefit checks.
DSHS estimates it lost $217,000 through Becker's scheme, while the SSA has tallied the loss at $30,000, according to charging documents.
Craft also was charged with perjury for allegedly providing false testimony to her son's parole officer.
The son, Asher Becker, 28, was convicted of third-degree child molestation in 2008 and was sentenced to about a year in prison. As part of that sentence, he was barred from having contact with minors. Prosecutors allege he was around a 15-year-old girl after being released from prison.
In May 2010, Craft told the parole officer that Becker didn't have such contact.
The girl told investigators that she was in contact with Becker, and photos taken from the time period show the girl, Becker and Craft in the same room, according to the charging documents.