Guest post by Progressives Today contributor Michael Strickland
“You stole a quarter of a million dollars that didn’t belong to you!” proclaimed U.S. District Judge Marco A. Hernandez, during the sentencing for Richelle Dee McDonald.
McDonald was born in 1945, as Richard Duncan McDonald, in San Francisco. After spending time on the streets, he was hit by a bus in 1976, and began collecting Social Security Disability. In 1981, s/he underwent a sex change operation, and went on to work as a janitor in a hospital for 26 years under her new name, while still collecting SSDI under “her” old name.
The Oregonian reports:
Records filed in Portland’s U.S. District Court describe McDonald’s long-term fleecing of the Social Security Administration:
At age 15, she obtained a Social Security number under her birth name, Richard Duncan McDonald. But in late 1972, she applied for another SSN – this time as Richelle Dee McDonald – declaring she had never received one of the federal IDs.
McDonald applied for Supplemental Security Income in 1974 under her male name, staking claim to federal disability payments because of injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident.
But by 1976, McDonald was earning income as Richelle. She underwent sex-change surgery in August 1981 and worked in Oregon as a janitor for Kaiser Permanente from 1986 to 2010.
Meanwhile, she received monthly checks and electronic deposits into a Bank of America account in California as Richard McDonald, where she maintained a driver’s license in that name.
McDonald’s lies to Social Security helped to funnel $248,968.76 into her bank accounts over a 32-year stretch, according to court records. But her perfidy was undone after she applied for Richelle McDonald’s retirement benefits.
Now 70 years old, McDonald got off with no jail time, but is under house arrest for 8 months and probation for 3 years, in addition to having to pay back all of the money pilfered.