LAWRENCEVILLE -- A Gwinnett County grand jury this week indicted the son of a late school teacher on charges he stole nearly $86,000 from a state retirement account after the teacher's death.
Lawrenceville resident Levon Chett Barrett was indicted Wednesday on one count of violating Georgia's racketeering and corruption act. He remains at large.
Barrett, the son of an Atlanta Public Schools teacher who retired in 1997 and died a decade later, is accused of stealing pension payments from the Teacher's Retirement System of Georgia since his mother's death.
No one with the state's retirement system was aware of the former teacher's death until February 2010, when a human resources official from APS alerted them. Payments had been electronically transferred to her account in the intervening years, according to prosecutors with Georgia's Attorney General's Office.
An investigation revealed that Barrett stole a total of $85,712 from his deceased mother's account through use of a debit card, either by withdrawing funds from ATMs or by using the card to conduct transactions online, in person and over the phone, officials said.
Lauren Kane, Attorney General's Office spokeswoman, said some of those withdrawals were made in Gwinnett, where Barrett was living during the time frame of the thefts.
Last month, Barrett admitted to bilking the state's retirement system in interviews with Georgia Bureau of Investigation officials, Kane said.
The racketeering charges carries a minimum of five and a maximum of 20 years in prison, and a fine up to three times the amount of money stolen.