Former Mrs. Florida Faces Prison For Stealing Elderly Mom’s SSI Checks
Mrs. Florida 2016 might be headed to prison for stealing her elderly mother’s Social Security checks after a federal judge said he wanted to send a message about stealing from the United States government, according to the Palm Beach Post.
Karyn Turk, who also has become a pro-Trump conservative media darling, will have to convince an appeals court that she does not belong behind bars if she hopes to avoid spending one month in jail, the publication reported.
Turk was caught “stealing her elderly mother’s Social Security checks instead of using the money to pay for nursing home care.” Her mother suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and spent three years in the nursing home before passing away in July at age 83.
Along with the month-long sentence, U.S. Magistrate Bruce Reinhart ordered Turk to perform 100 hours of community service at a nursing home.
The former beauty queen’s attorney argued in court that Turk has suffered enough since she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of Social Security fraud in September.
David Tarras said his client has been harassed on social media and lost her position with various charitable organizations. He added that “damage to her reputation and her status in political, business and social circles has been enormous,” the Post reported. Tarras also noted that Turk had repaid the $46,000 she stole.
But Reinhart said Turk’s criminal behavior was serious, adding that she should not be able to simply buy her way out of jail by reimbursing the government the amount she stole.
The judge said he wanted to use Turk’s case to send a message to those who might follow her lead.
“The message I’m sending is: You can’t steal from the government and not go to jail,” Reinhart said.
Rather than using her mother’s SSI, Veterans Administration and pension checks to cover her mother’s nursing home expenses, she “used the money to pay for shopping sprees, dinners out and for a nanny to watch her children, according to Palm Beach County sheriff’s Detective Vaughn Mitchell.”