RALEIGH, NC (WBTV) - A man was indicted on Wednesday for reportedly keeping his mother's North Carolina pension payments 15 years after her death.
The indictment claims that Ben Hamilton Colvard III held a joint bank account with his mother, who was a retired state employee.
She died in 2001, according to the indictment. The indictment claims that her monthly pension benefits should have ended the year she died but Colvard allegedly had her name removed from their joint account. That's when he reportedly put the account in his name only, the indictment alleges.
In total, over $266,000 in pension benefits continued to be paid to Colvard's mother until April 2016, according to the indictment.
State Treasurer Dale R. Folwell said he wants to continue to fight fraud against the state's $100 billion pension plan.
"I have a duty to protect the pension plan so the people who deserve to get checks keep getting them," Folwell said. "The indictment shows that we're serious about making sure there are consequences for people who cash checks they don't deserve."
Colvard was indicted for knowingly obtaining property by false pretenses and could face up to 15 years in prison.
"I want to thank the offices of Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman and SBI Director Bob Schurmeier for investigating this case and righting a wrong against the taxpayers of North Carolina," Folwell said. "This sends a clear message to others that we won't tolerate any efforts to defraud the pension plan."
If you think that fraud is being committed against the state pension plan, you're encouraged to report it at 919-814-4085.