Plattsburgh woman sentenced for stealing benefits from deceased, veteran father

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Thursday, a Plattsburgh woman was sentenced for stealing from her deceased, veteran father.

Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie announced Tina Cummings was sentenced for her plea to two counts of Grand Larceny in the third degree.

Cummings was the caretaker of her father, Ralph Tefft, a United States Air Force veteran.

According to Wylie, Cummings waited to report his death for three months. In that time, Wylie says she appropriated payments of just over $15,000.00 in the form of Social Security benefits, a Veterans Pension and Veterans Disability made to her deceased father.

Cummings was sentenced by the Honorable William A. Favreau to 120 days jail, five years probation, 200 hours community service, $2,375 (representing fines, surcharges, a crime victim fee and a DNA sample fee), DNA sample and $15,000 restitution.

However, the Social Security Administration and Defense Finance and Accounting Services declined all restitution. The agencies say the death certificate for Mr. Tefft indicates May 11, 2017 as his date of death (even though defendant admitted that he had passed sometime in early February 2017), and as such, all payments made to May 11, 2017 were proper.

As a result of this position and based upon the fact that Mr. Tefft was a veteran, Wylie insisted as part of the disposition that the $15,000.00 illegally obtained by Cummings, be split between the North Country Honor Flight and The Disabled American Veterans Post 179. Both are local charities which honor and serve local veterans.

The prosecutors of the Clinton County District Attorney’s Office and the District Attorney have no affiliation with either of these organizations (which were chosen simply upon their community service to local veterans).

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