South China man faces 10 years for stealing VA benefits intended for deceased mother

Posted Feb. 26, 2014, at 10:43 a.m.
Last modified Feb. 26, 2014, at 11:59 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A South China man is facing up to 10 years behind bars after he pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing more than $53,000 worth of benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

A sentencing date has yet to be set for Neil Pelkey, 67, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.

Pelkey pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Bangor.

According to court documents, Pelkey stole benefits intended for his mother for nearly four years after her death in 2010.

A KeyBank account previously shared by Pelkey and his mother, Maud Peterson, apparently had monthly payments ranging from $1,154 to $1,215 deposited into it between January 2010 and September 2013. Pelkey’s mother died on Jan. 2, 2010, court documents indicate.

According to court documents, a custodian of records employed at KeyBank provided bank records showing the removal of Pelkey’s mother’s name from the account a month after she died, and Pelkey’s name was the only one who remained on the account.

Bank records also indicated that Pelkey’s mother’s civil service retirement pay stopped in February 2010 but payments continued through the fall of 2013 to be deposited into Pelkey’s account.

Pelkey apparently also used the funds to make payments for living expenses and utilities, according to court documents. He admitted his wrongdoings during an October 2013 interview with a VA agent.

The Office of the Inspector General of the VA led the investigation. In addition to prison time, Pelkey also faces a fine of up to $250,000.

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