Tale of a Cross-Dressing, Death-Defying Tax Cheat
by Byrne Hobart
You know what’s sane and normal? Having trouble letting go when a loved one dies. You know what’s not so sane or normal? Dressing up as a deceased parent for years in order to collect social security benefits and rent subsidies.
Irene Prusik passed away in 2003. But Thomas Prusik-Parkin kept on collecting her benefits for years. This had to take some planning: he started by fudging the numbers on her death certificate so she wouldn’t be listed as dead. After that, it was just a simple matter of, um:
donning a wig, nail polish and dresses to impersonate his dead mom and collect $115,000 in Social Security and rent subsidies.
Prusik-Parkin really exemplifies the idea of giving people a “hand up, rather than a handout.” He had to work hard to earn the government benefits of two people. In addition to the creepy cross-dressing disguises, he sued himself for selling his house to himself, and filed a fake affadavit from a fake relative to support the claim. All that, and he still got evicted!
The New York Daily News has the whole bizarre story.
Oh, and one other thing: today, it came out that he kept the casket in his living room. Which you’d think would have been a tip-off.