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Man accused of stealing dead mother's teaching pension

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.

Comments

Coolray 1 year, 11 months ago

He obviously forgot his last name isn't Don Balfour and he doesn't have an (r) behind his name.

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teelee 1 year, 11 months ago

Sorry, we all know that most recipients of government checks are Democrats.

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Oliver 1 year, 11 months ago

This guy is a crook. End of discussion about him.

This story is another great example of government ineptness. Why isn't the Teacher's Retirement System doing the same thing the private pension plans (for payout annuities and pension plans) have been doing for years and checking the Social Security Death Master File to see who has died???? Private companies are smart enough to go to this source to find out who has died and thus no longer gets their pension checks. Why doesn't the Teacher's Retirement System do the same thing???

(Maybe the answer is they would do it, but they don't have time because they're stuck waiting in long lines at the government-run DDS)

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