Missing mom's son steals her Social Security
A Medford jury found a Klamath County man guilty Wednesday of living off Social Security benefits belonging to his nonagenarian mother, who has been missing since 2010.
Theodore Martin Kirk, 64, was found guilty in U.S. District Court of taking more than $30,000 worth of Social Security benefits over a five-year period in the name of his mother, Georgia “Nadine” Kirk, now 102 years old and presumed deceased after her disappearance nearly a decade ago went unreported.
Nadine Kirk’s last record of financial activity was a check she endorsed and deposited in January 2010, according to a news release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s office Thursday.
Between January 2010 and August 2015, the Social Security Administration direct-deposited $81,360 into a Chase bank account shared between Nadine and Theodore Kirk, according to court documents. Each month Theodore Kirk withdrew the entirety of his mother’s Social Security funds, prosecutors said.
The Social Security Administration stopped payments in August 2015 after the agency got a tip from a concerned citizen who hadn’t heard from Nadine Kirk in years.
When the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office stopped at the Kirks’ Bonanza residence in July 2015, Ted Kirk said his mother had taken a trip with friends to California in May to visit a longtime friend named “Elsa Newman or Nieman,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Ted Kirk refused to allow sheriff’s deputies into the home to confirm his mother was not home.
Following up on leads, detectives learned that Elsa Nieman died in May 2013 — two years prior to the alleged visit. A relative of Nieman told detectives that she’d spent the last few years in a memory care facility, according to court documents filed by federal prosecutors in late February.
In 2017, investigators found a calendar at the Kirk residence documenting a series of strokes Nadine Kirk had between 2004 and 2010, according to U.S. Attorneys. The calendar showed that Nadine Kirk suffered two strokes in three days in the early part of 2010, then no additional entries.
Kirk will be sentenced June 27 in U.S. District Court in Medford. He faces a maximum 10-year prison sentence.