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Woman forged dad's name, cashed checks for 31 years

In a barely audible voice, a 73-year-old woman admitted in court that month after month - for 31 years - she forged her dead father's signature on his Social Security checks.

Ann Craig of Newark finally was caught in a routine check by the Social Security Administration. In all, she had illegally cashed 372 checks worth $151,000.Craig pleaded guilty to one count of fraudulently securing Social Security benefits. She faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Terry Brown, a Social Security agent, explained in court Thursday that the agency routinely checks on recipients when they turn 95. Craig's father, Michael Weidner, would have turned 95 in October. In fact, he died in August 1966 at age 63.

"Family members became evasive" when called by a government agent, Brown said.