Ariz. man gets 2 years for theft, fraud

Son had collected from Ohio fund decades after mother’s death


COLUMBUS — The son of a late, former Maumee woman pleaded guilty to theft and identity fraud charges Thursday for collecting $100,000 of her state pension payments for 23 years after she died.

Raymond O’Dell, 70, currently of Scottsdale, Ariz., and his mother, Helen, were in the state of Washington when she died in 1989, but O’Dell did not notify either the state or federal government of her death.

It wasn’t until 2012 that an audit by the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System discovered O’Dell was illegally collecting the pension earned by Ms. O’Dell’s late husband, a former employee of the state Department of Transportation.

Franklin County Common Pleas Judge David Cain sentenced O’Dell to two years in prison for identity fraud and a year each on theft and records-tampering charges. The sentence, to be served concurrently, is on top of a six-month federal prison sentence imposed in January for the theft of $188,436 in Social Security benefits.

The federal prison sentence would be followed by six months of home detention. That sentence will also be served concurrently with the state sentence.

O’Dell has repaid $102,488 to the state pension fund and was also ordered to repay the stolen Social Security benefits.

“This defendant made no effort to notify the state that his mother had died because he knew the payments would stop if he did,” Attorney General Mike DeWine said. “Those who try to defraud the state in this manner will be caught and will be prosecuted.”

The funds had been deposited into a joint banking account O’Dell shared with his mother. But the state maintained the theft was deliberate because O’Dell mailed a change-of-address card to the pension fund more than 16 years after Ms. O’Dell had died.