A few weeks ago, Michael Daly of the Daily Beast wrote about a fascinating case involving a man who's been nicknamed the "Real-Life Norman Bates." In a tale of Hitchcockian proportions, 51-year-old Thomas Parkin had beem accused of dressing up like his dead mother in an attempt to secure her $2.2 million brownstone and to cash her Social Security checks.
(Fans of "Psycho" will remember that the film's main character had been impersonating his mother long after she had passed away. Of course, in the movie, Bates was also murdering innocent people, something Parkin was not accused of.)
The trouble began in 1997, when Irene Prusik supposedly signed over her brownstone deed to her adopted son Thomas Parkin (the house was eventually foreclosed on when he couldn't pay the mortgage). However, things really got weird in September 2003, after Irene passed away. That's when Thomas gave the funeral director an incorrect Social Security number for his mother. As Daly reports, this prevented "[Irene's] death from being logged in the federal database and allegedly [allowed Thomas] to collect her continuing Social Security benefits."
Soon after, a pending lawsuit -- one brought forth by Samir Chopra, the man who bought the foreclosed brownstone from the bank -- began to heat up. Chopra wanted Parkin banned from the brownstone. Parkin, however, took his case to the district attorney, painting him and his (now deceased) mother as victims of fraud. But the D.A. was suspicious: He continually asked to meet with Irene Prusik, only to be rebuffed by Thomas, who said she was ill.
Eventually, Thomas Parkin relented, and D.A. investigator Vincent Verlezza went to visit Irene...with a hidden camera. The video, which you can watch over on the Daily Beast, shows Parkin dressed as his mother. The tape would later be used as evidence against Thomas. (Thomas Parkin would later admit to detectives that "I held my mother when she was dying and breathed in her last breath, so I am my mother.")
Last week, Parkin was convicted on 11 counts, including larceny and falsifying records. He can now be sentenced to up to 83 years in prison. Although the NY Daily News states that Parkin was a fan of Bates, his lawyer maintains his innocence: "That could have been anyone," he said, in reference to the person in the video dressed as "Irene Prusik."
For a whole lot more regarding the case and Parkin's background, head over to the Daily Beast.
Coincidentally, a movie about the making of "Psycho" -- starring Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchock and James D'Arcy as Anthony Perkins -- is set to hit theaters in 2013.
[via The Daily Beast b/w Movies.com]
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