For six years, 49-year-old Thomas Prusik-Parkin of Brooklyn disguised himself as his deceased mother so he could collect some $115,000 in Social Security and rent subsidies, police sources tell the Daily News. After being busted for the elaborate scam on Monday, Prusik-Parkin reportedly told detectives, "I held my mother when she was dying and breathed in her last breath, so I am my mother." And if you think that's creepy, take a look at his mug shot!
It seems that the mother, Irene Prusik, died at age 73 in 2003, at which point her son gave the funeral director a phony Social Security number and date of birth for his mother so her death would not be registered in government databases. He then allegedly began collecting her $700 a month in Social Security checks, on top of his own disability checks, and even posed as his mother to file bankruptcy so "she" could get $39,000 in city subsidies.
It gets nuttier: Irene had deeded the Park Slope brownstone to her son in 1996, and he took out a $200,000 mortgage, which he invested in a real estate business that failed. When he finally stopped making the mortgage payments in 2003, the house went into foreclosure and was bought by Samir Chopra. To fight it, Prusik-Parkin allegedly came up with a really bright idea: Posing as mom, he sued himself, alleging that he had forged the 1996 deed transfer, and therefore the house was never legally mortgaged to begin with! According to the News, Prusik-Parkin deeded the house back to his mother last year, then he took out another mortgage for almost a million dollars in her name in April, collecting some $300,000 of the loan.
It's Chopra, the new owner of the $2.2 million brownstone, who tipped off investigators, who interviewed "Irene" last month. At "her" side was an alleged accomplice, Mhilton Rimolo, who police say has been posing at "her" nephew to assist "her" when Prusik-Parkin would appear publicly to cash checks and conduct property transactions. Both men are being arraigned today on a variety of grand larceny, forgery and conspiracy charges.