HONOLULU – Lynsie Katherine Williams, 58, was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and ordered to repay the state of Hawaii $398,258 on Thursday, Feb. 13, after she admitted she stole her dead father’s disability payments for more than two decades.
Williams’ father, Edwin David Callison, died January 3, 1990. Since 1976, he received Permanent Total Disability benefits from the state as a result of a work-related injury at the Kauai Humane Society where he employed for three years beginning in 1973.
Court records show Williams, a resident of Redlands, California, stole her father’s state disability benefits for 21 years after his death.
She forged his signature on state benefit forms and opened a joint bank account with his name. The state checks were automatically deposited in his account from Jan. 3, 1990 to August 11, 2011, ultimately defrauding the taxpayers of $398,258. Impersonating her father, she continued to claim Callison was under the care of a doctor for his injury.
After a joint investigation by the State Attorney General and the Honolulu FBI spurred by an audit at the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, Williams was indicted by a federal grand jury in Honolulu on August 14, 2012, on mail fraud charges, and pleaded guilty to those charges on September 9, 2013.
U.S. District Court Judge Helen Gilmore could have sentenced Williams, a mother of 6 children, up to 20 years in federal prison. Williams apologized for her actions, said said she stole the money because she was impoverished and homeless.
FBI Special Agent Tom Simon said using her dead father’s name to steal money was “a lousy way to honor his memory.”
“Frauds like this cost all of us money as taxpayers, and the FBI will keep working these cases until the message is received that this is unacceptable behavior,” Simon said. “We’ll continue to cooperate with the State Attorney General’s Office on these cases until this type of fraud is no longer a crime problem in Hawaii.”