New details emerge from Philadelphia dungeon case

New details have emerged about the Philadelphia dungeon case that we discussed in yesterday’s post. The case involves a 51-year-old woman who allegedly held four mentally challenged adults in a basement in order to collect their supplemental security income checks. Authorities say that the woman failed to give the handicapped adults enough to eat and drink and that the individuals had the mental capacities of 10-year-olds. Unfortunately this Social Security fraud scheme seems to have involved more victims. Authorities have found four adults and eight children in various parts of Philadelphia that have been linked to the 51-year-old woman and her henchmen.

Authorities say that the woman’s neighbors complained about suspected abuse at her last residence. The woman was eventually forced out after failing to pay rent and the next tenant kept receiving Social Security statements for some of the victims. The victim called the Social Security Administration but the SSA only stopped the statements and not the direct deposits into the woman’s account. This highlights some of the inefficiencies of the SSA which experienced Social Security Disability attorneys have to navigate every day.

The woman and others appear to have moved constantly, fleeing authorities and landlords seeking rent. Authorities say that the woman dragged her victims to several different apartments in various states before she was caught. It is unclear how she met all of the disabled individuals and children. Authorities believe they have found all of the victims associated with the woman’s scheme, but it is unclear whether others fell prey to the woman in other states.

Source: Associated Press, “Portraits of victims in US benefit scheme emerge,” Oct. 20, 2011

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