Grand Junction, Colo. (AP) A Grand Junction man could face up to 32 years in prison if convicted of stealing checks made out to his dead mother, forging her name, and cashing them.
Police arrested 52-year-old Thomas Lee Plotner on Friday after authorities planted a check in his post office box, then waited for him to pick it up and take it to a store to cash it.
Investigators say Juanita Plotner began receiving benefit checks from the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs after her husband, Ira, died in August 1994.
But when Juanita died in June 2004, no one told the department.
Checks continued to arrive in her name at a post office box she shared with her son, and police say Thomas Plotner cashed 33 of them -- worth a total of more than $15,000.
A check of Colorado Bureau of Investigation records shows Plotner has been arrested in several western slope communities for allegedly committing various crimes since August 1977.