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December 06, 2006

Man Faked Retardation For 20 Years To $cam Government

I've been attempting this for almost three years. It's the whole point of the blog.

For nearly 20 years — ever since Pete Costello was 8 — his mother has collected disability benefits on his behalf. In meetings with Social Security officials and psychologists, he appeared mentally retarded and unable to communicate. His mother insisted he couldn't read or write, shower, take care of himself or drive a car.

But now prosecutors say it was all a huge fraud, and they have video of Costello contesting a traffic ticket to prove it.

"He's like any other person trying to get out of a traffic ticket," Assistant U.S. Attorney Norman Barbosa said Tuesday.

Pete and Rosie Marie Costello were indicted in September on charges of conspiracy to defraud the government and Social Security fraud, and the case was unsealed Tuesday. The Vancouver pair were scheduled to appear in federal court in Tacoma on Tuesday.

Barbosa said he planned to file with the court two videos of Pete Costello taken this year: In one, he allegedly feigns retardation during an interview with Social Security workers; the other is of him contesting the traffic ticket in a courtroom earlier this year.

The indictment accuses Costello of faking — or at least exaggerating — retardation since August 1997, because that is what prosecutors are confident they can prove, Barbosa said. But the pair first received benefits 10 years before that.

The benefits cited in the indictment totaled $111,000.

Thanks to chickpea and yls.


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posted by Ace at 12:22 PM

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