February 26

South China man guilty of stealing VA benefits from dead mother

Neil Pelkey, 67, collected thousands of dollars in benefits from 2010 to 2013 until investigators discovered that his mother had died.

Staff Report

A South China man has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $53,000 in veterans benefits, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release.

Neil Pelkey, 67, pleaded guilty Tuesday to the theft charge, according to U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II, at the U.S. District Court in Bangor. The theft involved death and indemnity compensation benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Pelkey stole VA death benefits intended for his mother for almost four years following her death, according to the release.

The release said VA investigators learned about the woman’s death from the Nationwide Death Match Project, a computerized comparison of VA and Social Security Administration records.

Pelkey collected monthly benefits ranging from $1,154 to $1,215 from Jan. 1, 2010, to Sept.1, 2013, and used them to pay living expenses, according to the release.

Pelkey faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and he’ll be sentenced after completion of a pre-sentence report by the United States Probation Office.

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