The story of the Park Slope man who dressed like his dead mother for six years to cash her Social Security checks and collect other benefits has captivated the world, with Google showing the Thomas Prusik-Parkin Psycho tale popping up as far afield as Turkey and Russia. Perhaps there's something about the story that resonates with humanity's deep-seated Oedipal urges—or maybe Prusik-Parkin has just tapped into our universal fantasy to live on the dole without our moms' nagging us to get a job. Either way, it gets creepier: The Daily News reports today that Prusik-Parkin kept a casket in his living room.
Investigators say it's unclear why Prusik-Parkin kept the casket, so we can only assume it facilitated some kind of bizarre incestuous-necrophiliac-autoerotic asphyxiation fetish. We'll have to wait for the Kevin Spacey biopic (or Billy Bob Thorton?) to really see what it was used for, but in the meantime, Prusik-Parkin and his accomplice, Mhilton Rimolo—who posed as his mother's nephew when Prusik-Parkin would dress in old lady drag to go cash checks or file court papers—were indicted yesterday in Brooklyn Supreme Court. Prusik-Parkin's accused of collecting $1 million in benefits and loans on behalf of his dead mother, who was believed to be alive by the bureaucracy because her son allegedly gave the funeral director a phony Social Security number when she died.
"He said he's not Norman Bates," Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes told reporters yesterday. "This guy is not stupid; this guy is very smart. His schemes were brilliant." According to investigators, the scam was detected when the new owner of Prusik-Parkin's childhood brownstone—lost in foreclosure—got suspicious and tipped off the cops. When detectives showed up to interview the late Irene Prusik in May, they encountered an elderly "woman" in a red dress and dark sunglasses, wearing an oxygen mask and a scarf to cover his Adam's apple.
But according to one investigator, Prusik-Parkin's "rather large hands" were an obvious red flag. He's charged with 47 counts of grand larceny, forgery and conspiracy; the two face up to 25 years in prison if they're convicted and are currently being held in lieu of $1 million bail. They only way this could get crazier is if Prusik-Parkin's "aunt" shows up to bail them out with a suitcase full of counterfeit bills.